The Timeless

Reads: 327  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 10

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Be thankful for death; some do not get to experience it.

Submitted: June 03, 2015

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 03, 2015

A A A

A A A


I want to die.

I am not, of course, the only person in the world who wants this. There are likely millions of others having similar thoughts. Take a peek inside any high school or university, and you’ll see them. Go to New York and stare up at the top floors of towering skyscrapers; if you look carefully, you might see the CEO of some struggling business shove a gun in his mouth. You might want to turn away before he pulls the trigger. Or else listen for the sirens that signal another death.

This all sounds horribly pessimistic. I probably come across as a stereotype, or else a textbook definition of obsessed. Am I obsessed with the idea of dying? Sure. Have I always been? No. But time has a habit of doing that: making you want to die. The longer you live, the more you want to go. Usually. That’s how I see things, anyways. If I am right and age does equate to obsession with what comes next, then it makes sense that I’m so consumed by it. I am, after all, very old.

But I don’t really remember how old I am. The years have creeped by. I think I’m eighty-two, or maybe eighty-six. One of the two. Ancient either way. I’m told that I look very young. Healthy. Vibrant. Don't ask me what age I look, because I don’t really remember that either. I'm a little sensitive about my memory. I can remember some things clearly. Age is not one of them.

Look up “immortal” in your handy little dictionary and you’ll get something that reads like this:

im·mor·tal

i(m)?môrdl/

adjective

1.1.

living forever; never dying or decaying.

 

Symptoms include vitality, agelessness, deathlessness, and invincibility. Think about how doctors diagnose things. You tell them what’s making you miserable—cough, headache, fever, fatigue, achiness—and they add it all up to say, “You have the flu.” It’s kind of like that. You fit together the individual pieces to identify the disease. If you add up all my symptoms, you get immortality. And that’s the crux of the problem: I can’t die. Not “don’t die” or “won’t die,” since both imply that I have a choice in the matter. I don’t. I could put a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger just like our poor businessman, with one difference: his skull will explode and mine will not. That bullet would come right back out again.

Poof.

Magic.

 

. . . . .

 

 

Over the years I have made three rules for myself to follow:

  1. Do not tell anyone that I will (theoretically) live forever.
  2. Do not let someone figure out that I will (theoretically) live forever.
  3. Do not get attached to anyone.

Following said rules means that I can never stay in one place for long. Kids grow up in a year. Little girls become young ladies become women before your eyes. Parents become grandparents in nine short months. Always changing, growing, flourishing. In the center of it all, there is me. Constant.

Take it from me: if you make a deal with the devil, it tends to come back and take a decent bite out of your ass. I speak metaphorically, of course. There was no meeting at a crossroads, no burying of any number of items. I have yet to hear hellhounds coming my way. But perhaps the devil isn’t so make-believe as we would hope. Perhaps it isn’t a single man, but rather a group. An entity, so to speak. An entity made up of scientists trying to change the world. I was their test subject.

Please don’t imagine that I was whisked away out my bedroom window by men in masks; this is not like the movies. I was not kidnapped or stolen. And for the most part, the scientists weren’t terrible to me. It wasn’t a five star hotel, but it wasn’t a prison cell either. If anything, I’d equate it to a hospital room. Which I hated. In the weeks leading up to my meeting them, I had spent approximately ninety-eight percent of my time in a hospital room. Part of it I don’t remember, as I was in an induced coma. But upon waking, all I knew were white rooms. The remainder of my time, I was talking to psychiatrists and lawyers.

The psychiatrists were obvious: a traumatic accident followed by an extended hospital stay? It’s enough to drive anyone insane. They were there to make sure I wasn’t.  The lawyers you might have guessed about. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but the reading of a will often requires a family lawyer to be present. As it turns out, my parents had left me a decent bit of money. I went into November piled into the family van; I came out with two dead parents and a seven-figure number in my savings account.

Not that the money really would have mattered, as the doctors gave me only about another week before the hemorrhaging in my brain reached its tipping point. It would have been goodbye me and hello whatever-comes-next if I had not been approached by two men in cheap suits three days in to my last week on Earth. They had been professional and curt, I remember. There wasn’t any bullshit, which was nice; hospitals tend to give way to a lot of bullshit being said.

“We can save your life.”

Someone braver than I would have said no. You would think that, with my family gone and nothing left but a pile of money, I would be eager to follow them into the next great perhaps. But I was young and stupid. Perhaps I should shorten that to “I was young,” as the stupidity is sort of implied. Young people do a lot of stupid things. My agreeing to go with them was my moronic decision of the decade. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but that’s the fault of the human condition. Hindsight is 20/20.

So I went with them. And they did their experiments only half-expecting them to work. I wonder who was more surprised when I stuck a gun in my mouth and spit the bullet back out. Prior to that moment, nothing had worked as it was supposed to. I had grown tired of the endless tests, and the pain of missing my family had finally hit me like a stab to the heart. For the first time in a month and a half, I wanted my parents. Maybe it just hadn’t really sunk in before then that I was alone.

That’s the ironic thing, I guess: by the time I was ready to die, I couldn’t. I begged them to take it back, to make me normal again, but they refused. Maybe they didn’t know how to, maybe they didn’t want to. I don’t really know. It doesn’t really matter either way. I’ll still be intact.

I try to make a habit of putting up a strong face, but I’ll be honest:

I am terrified.

Do you ever wonder about the end of the world? I do. You might think on it occasionally when the newest prediction floods the Internet, but forget soon after it is determined to be a hoax. How simple. How easy. I wish I could be so aloof. But in billions of years, when the sun expands to engulf the planet, killing everyone and everything, what will become of me?

You’re lucky that you will die one day. It might scare you now, but one day you will be glad. Immortality is painful, I promise. Painful and lonely. I might have gotten away from the scientists who did this to me, but there are some things you just can’t escape. You never eally forget the first time you try to shoot yourself, or the first time you slit your wrists, or the first time you leap off a chair with a rope tightened around your neck. Death should be inescapable. I’m so jealous of you all. I mean, I really fucked myself over. If I could go back, I would. I would stop myself. I would let myself die. But time travel doesn’t really appear to be a part of immortality.

So embrace death.

You don’t know how fortunate you are.

 


© Copyright 2017 berktree. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

More Science Fiction Short Stories

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by berktree

Stars

Short Story / Science Fiction

The Gift of Eternity

Short Story / Literary Fiction

The Timeless

Short Story / Science Fiction

Popular Tags