Hi! Hope you all are well. This Wednesday, as is normal, I have a new story (it’s about 8,200 words). It’s a Sci-Fi story, eventually, but was not written like one. Usually, I know a story is Sci-Fi whereas this one I had to think on its categorisation. Don’t want to spoil anything but the Sci-Fi doesn’t really come in until the end, and in my opinion it’s only brief really. What I will say is that this story is about immortality, not through technology. Unlike most stories I write this is done in the first person (only second time I’ve done that on here) and as a single piece, not cut into sections. My best explanation as to why that is, is that it’s done a bit like a letter or journal to the reader. OK, I better shut up now and not say anymore. Might have said to much already and so without further delay here is, Monotony Is Monotone.
What would you say if you were offered immortality? Would you take it? I have never done some sort of in-depth study into this, but going off what have been the responses from those I have asked, principally during drunken parties of fierce frivolity, it seems that many would indeed take immortality.
That is not to say that there are not caveats to them accepting such an offer were it presented unto them, for there are. Chief amongst these caveats is that of the concept of aging. It’s funny to think that immortality means people would not believe a lack of aging to be an essential part and yet that appears to be the truth of it. After all, if it was not you would eventually die due to your body no longer being able to sustain your life. As such that means you would not be immortal but instead partaking in prolonged living. Not notions I have ever pointed out to those I have issued this question too and yet perhaps I should have better explained. Then again would the inebriated understand my explanations, I don’t it. Inebriation is a limit and it does so quite successfully to people’s faculties and senses.
Even the smartest soul I have seen reduced to a drooling chuckling mass of static jelly who when aiming to speak some statement, which in their minds likely sounds grand and perspective altering, comes out as little more than garbled chittering most unintelligible.
Alas, while this is how I have chosen to begin this recounting it is obvious that I have managed to digress quite spectacularly. First of all what I should be doing is introducing myself, and so I shall. My name is Kronen. No I have no surname to speak of for it has changed more often than I care to attempt to recall, such is the necessity for I who am an immortal. I can already hear, through the echoes of time and space, the cries that my claims are preposterous. Ha. It does humour me so greatly to imagine them, in my mind’s eye; far clearer than you may wish to believe would be possible. It is not because in my immortality I have gained insight into the future. I have not. Clairvoyance is not a reality. That much I can tell you and anyone claiming insight into the future is either a con artist or someone who likes to state the bleeding obvious. Any man, woman, child, even bug can assume what will come next when it is almost a certainty. But to the less attuned or, in some cases, intelligent, it may look like foresight.
Alas, I have digressed for a second time. I will try to keep these deviations to a minimum or otherwise we shall be here for a vastly long period of time which I don’t not have available to me. Yes, an immortal does not have time. It may sound like a contradiction, I am aware. Now back to the point for this, this is a story and like all stories you are meant to start at the beginning. Right here… in this lack of time is not the beginning, so it will be explained when my recalling of my past has reached this point, the present. For the moment we will focus on the past, distant as it now is.
You see I was born in Greece. You wouldn’t know it to hear me speak for I have long since lost any accent I held in my first lifetime; though am effortlessly able to mimic any if required. An inexact measurement, a lifetime, as anyone would be capable of understanding but one that best fits the purposes of what I retell here. After all this is an aside, not a deviation this time. Insight is necessary and I will give it where I feel appropriate. Regardless, the village I was born into, I do not recall its name, but I am fully aware that it does not stand today. Ancient Greece, during the dark age of the ten century was… boring. It may sound very different now but to be honest that first life was by far the most sedate of all those I have lived. Now you may be wondering, well if you were born in the ten century BC then why not give the year of your birth. Now I shall do exactly that, have patience dear reader, for I was born in 953 BC. And while many events of that life are long filed away in the depths of my mind I can recall certain things. One such memory is that of the deaths of my parents. Yes, I did not grow up familied. I was an orphan. I do believe it made my… affliction, as some would term it, easier to bear.
With that out of the way I feel it is time to move on from my first life. Yes, I view it as that insignificant. Because, like I said, it was dull, mundane, ordinary and many of the memories are buried deep. What I saw in that life held little colour. My second life could be termed largely in the same manner. At least until questions about my life expectancy started to result in questions. A lack of proper aging can be quite problematic once you reach maturity. And yes, I matured as would be considered normal until I reached manhood. Following that, well, let’s just say things have been less than glacial, if I am being frank. And no, as you might have guessed Kronen was not the name I held during my youth. For the most part I didn’t have a name and when finally came time to choose one. I selected something quite… bland. Kronen is a name I elected to give myself in a later life. Once I better understood my situation and put actual thought into the process. Though, it is not a name that I use outwardly as often as I have held it. It’s a…private name. Yes, I understand it sounds quite ludicrous but do not judge he who you cannot walk in the shoes of. For you cannot, dear reader I assure. That is, unless of course you are like me. I am not the only, but I am the few. Regardless, it does not change what I shall write here.
Back to my second life we go and the continuation of this history of mine. In it, as I stated previously, questions were raised in regards to my longevity. It did not take long for these questions to become claims, quite slanderous ones. I proclaimed my innocence of magics’ but was not believed. That was especially true when someone, and I know not who to this day though have my suspicions, set the grain silos alight.
Had the residents of my village been astute and of average intelligence, not a fault that was entirely their own, they would have fathomed that the destruction was deliberate on behalf of a third party and meant to encourage them to violence against me. And that is precisely what happened as violence is what they came to my door with. I remember quite vividly that they wanted my head. It was the first time I’d experienced such horrors, which looking back is quite a sad fact to be able to admit. Yet it would be far from the last example of someone wanting me dead, I might add. To the point that threats of this magnitude rarely rate on my danger scale any longer. Nevertheless, they ran me out of my home with nothing but the rags on my back. I was not a rich man, far from it. I was a pauper, a farmer with a failing crop who lived hand to mouth. I do believe a plague ended the village. It was not of my making I can assure you. However, I suspect they damned my name for what happened. I do not know. I never did return there. At least, not with the intent of walking those same dirt streets I grew up on. There is every possibility I walked over the land, the village long lost beneath the earth however.
Following my expulsion, I wandered. Married to the road my feet bled and my stomach rumbled empty and ravenous. It was then I learned but did not comprehend that starvation could not afflict me in the ways it does most on this spinning rock in the vacuum of space. And on my journeys I walked through villages, towns and cities. In all of them I saw the same repetition. At first I’d termed the land beautiful. That was until finally the land lost its lustre. I could not stomach staring at the sun blasted rocks, fields of grain, the volcanic spewing and so I headed east and found desert sands. They were new to me. The dunes much like a sea continually shifted, making it most difficult to properly navigate, which is why I relied on the stars. I knew little of which to follow and so having taken a fancy to one in particular I took my route by its guiding light. Regrettable decision I see now looking back but the benefit of hindsight is useless for the past cannot be altered or manipulated by such knowledge. If it were the world would, in my eyes, be in a worse state than it is currently.
Apologies for my foreshadowing events yet to come and not yet mentioned. I write as I think and I think like a man who has seen too much. In doing so I have developed a tendency, millennia in the making, of tying items together to properly recall as much of my past as I believe I am capable of doing.
Eventually, I made it across the desert. It took, by my recollection, years. Likely, I wondered in circles for a good chunk of it. Yet still when I departed its scorching sands and freezing nights I lay eyes open new sights, those of the Far East. It was… magnificent but… different. And by far those languages were the ones which took me the longest time and greatest of efforts to become fluent in. And it wasn’t during this stint in the east did I achieve such a feat either. If I were to give an explanation for my failure, for I do not like to fail, it is that the languages of the Far East share no similarities to those found in Europe and the modern Americas. I make the distinction for a reason but doubtful I will include it in this retelling. It is a story of a story. Not one of mine. In fact the tale, I feel, would best be told by she would experienced it. Any retelling by my hand would only serve as whispers capable only in failing to tell the true context by which the events unfolded. Alas, I return to the Far East now and though incapable of chatting with the locals got by on crude hand gestures and mimicry. These means served there purposes and I eventually found myself in the mountains with the monks.
Of all my lifetimes I would say that period was the most serene. But before long they too had questions. Unlike the dolts of my village they did not wish to drive me out, or worse. No, they defined me as a prophet, of sorts. Believing I was sent to survey the achievements of the people. I tried to reason that I was from a place called Greece. They did not understand my attempts it seemed. After all, my tongue was as foreign to them as there’s was to mine. Though, I had accumulated a few splinters of the dialect and spoke of it what I could. It must have been the most broken approximation of their speech they had ever heard, but they humoured and honoured me. Only when the raiders came did it end. Those bastards butchered them all, to a man. What a waste of life it was.
Fearful that a blade could mark my demise and not wanting to die for fear still flooded much of my being I did something that should also have rung alarm bells in my head. That was to jump. I termed in that moment that, survival or not, a death of my choosing would be better than a death of my enemies choosing and so I leapt from the mountain. It was… loud on the way down. Air went rushing past my ears. It felt as if I could be rended limb from limb at any second and then came the bang. I slammed full force, as you would expect, into the rocks below. When I awoke, I found I was alive. There was no pain. No injuries, no… there was nothing.
Understanding little of what I was, what I could do, I decided I may indeed be a prophet. That I had been sent; though I knew not from where or by whom. It was foolish of me to have concluded such but not a foolish as what I did next, for I walked to the nearest village, proclaiming myself to be… almighty. It didn’t take long, as you might imagine, for my proclamations to draw attention. And it seemed it mattered little that the locals could not understand my words. My actions spoke loud enough. Hubris is what it was and I paid for it in… well not really blood. But I paid by spending a century incarcerated. A stone box with iron bars became my world. Not the way anyone would wish to live, me included. It was not a life, it was an existence. But in that cell I learned things. Many prisoners came and went. They all fell to the blade. I did not. Though, that was not from lacking of trying by my captors, I must admit. And each scrap of knowledge I gleaned helped to build a bigger picture of the world as it was advancing forward into the future.
When finally the end to my imprisonment came, my escape was no escape at all. I was freed. By the time of my release no one recalled who I was, why I was there or how long it had been since I had entered the cell I called my own.
Back in those days records on such matters were not… prevalent. The new lord of the lands decided my punishment had exceeded my crime, if only he’d known how true that was. Still, he offered me a place at his side. I’d seen all I’d wanted too of this land. So long in a prison will do that to a man. Make them… hesitant to stay static. I wanted to see the world again. More of it, far more than I had seen thus far which had boiled down to mountains far greater than those of my homelands’, desert sands, ruins, fields of green, sun blasted rocks and forests topped with pearlescent snow.
In my eyes there had to be more and so I turned down the offer. Naïve as I was I fully believed it had been an offer with a choice attached. It had not. It had been an offer with execution attached for refusal. And so again I was forced to flee. Thankfully, the warlord had not left me in my cell for the period he offered me to consider his offer.
There was when I learned every deed had a price. Still, I escaped his clutches when I sauntered into the next warlords’ territory. I am aware they would not agree with my terming of what they were, but in my eyes, using my vernacular as it is today that is what I think would be best to term them. For their deeds were based exclusively around war being waged to gain resources and lands. So what better term than a warlord is there? Precisely, there is none.
Eventually I found myself at the coast. When I asked a fisherman what was out there, he shrugged. He did not know. It should not have surprised me and yet it did. Nevertheless this fisherman and all the others in that village welcomed me. Not in the same manner as the monks but with equal warmth. It’s why I settled there. For a long time I kept out of the lights of the world. Wars came and went. The world changed. People were born, lived, married, had children and died. I mourned some of them. I found death came easy to me, other people’s that is. I could mourn their loss but recall their long loving lives. In that I found solace. My pain soaked up like spilled liquid introduced to a sponge as a result.
When finally I left that fishing village it was five times the size it had been when I first laid eyes upon it. All those who had welcomed me were long committed to the ground. Their bodies having become dust blowing in the wind. It was not the same place. I did not love it anymore and so I set sail on my fishing boat. The villagers thought me mad. They told me the world ended out there. I did not listen. I don’t know why. Something told me to look out there. It was a need and I pursued that need like most would seek food for their grumbling stomachs.
Out on that sea the waves were fierce. My boat was battered by them. Had I not cast out all additional weight than I am sure I would have sunk less than a hundred miles from the land I had departed. But I endured.
Food was wrenched from the waters using the one fishing net I had retained. It was enough to sustain me.
While I was aware I could not starve that did not mean I felt compelled to forcibly suffer through such an affliction, for it is not painless. You see pain is something I feel like any other living being. It is never lost to me. I can regulate it better now. What once would have sent me to tears elicits only winces and snarls. But that is now. Back then the thought of starving, without the death, was too painful to wish to bear again and so it was just as well I had grown adept at catching the animals of the sea.
I ate crabs on occasion but mainly fish. Preparing what I caught was more difficult than catching it I found.
To make matters worse I had, until that point, never really cooked. I was the hunter gatherer, I was not the preparer. It took some time to reach a level I would call passable. Would I have been more successful were I mortal? I cannot say. Nor could I say I would have consumed sufficient amounts prior to starvation if I were mortal either.
Back to the task at hand, the journey. I found the further I got from land the more enormous the waves surrounding me became. My simple fishing vessel was buffeted. Many times I feared it would be capsized and I lost to the depths of the ocean as it sank with me alongside.
This stretch of water is more commonly known now as the East China Sea. But the waves were not the worst of what assaulted me. That was reserved for the storms which set in. And dad I been capable of drowning I might have during a number of days when so much rain poured out of the sky I feared my boat would be crushed beneath its weight. Then finally I caught sight of land. At first I did not believe it, thinking myself delirious. When acceptance for what I saw came I was convinced I had gotten turned around in one of the storms and was heading back to the shores I had departed. However, when I crashed onto the beach exhausted, bruised and missing land I realised I was wrong. These were obviously different shores from those of China, which I had left the eastern coast of and I felt saved by that realisation.
I did not spend as much time in Japan, that first time, as I would have liked. Not because questions came knocking alongside blades wishing to cut me to ribbons but because there my inability to converse in the native tongue stunted any hope I had of remaining. Or at least that was my excuse. There were other reasons too. I will not go into them. They matter far less but are issues I have found throughout my millennia on this world. Suffice to say chief amongst them was that people are not as tolerant of those not from their borders as they would like to think. I believe that is enough to make you understand.
My jaunt back west seemed longer. I made plenty of stops. That was not why it seemed longer. I cannot explain why it did other than to say that that is how it felt.
During those stops I lived numerous lives but knew once I was out of Russia and into Europe. The languages, though altered, were far more to my understanding. What wasn’t was my lifestyle, for I didn’t have one. That, I decided, is what needed to change first.
What followed this decision, which I will not be recounting in detail for it is not necessary to do so, were centuries of travelling around Europe, learning the languages, building up contacts, learning the intricacies of the world only to find them come toppling down. Now than a few times I lost a fortune that I’d built due to the changing of the guard or the crumbling of an empire or hierarchy. To be honest it was exhausting. It’s why I say clairvoyance is a scam, for no one, not a dot, knew what was to come. If they had they and I might have saved our livelihoods. Though, mine would have sustained for a far greater many centuries than any of theirs.
The problem with mortals is their heirs. In heirs there is no guarantee that those which inherit fortunes understand the importance of money or more vitally, that once it is gone it is a long road back to reclaiming it. Not impossible, I have seen many mortals achieve the feat several times in their lives, but certainly more taxing than for someone like me. Yet, I am fully aware that I am the exception to the rule.
As a result of these setbacks, numerous but spread over centuries, I did many a time go to war in the name of a cause I did not believe in. By this time I knew all the languages of the continent and was completely devoid of any accent. I had seen it as a vital step in helping me to blend in to wherever I found myself. After all, my early forays had shown standing out was, more often than not, detrimental to existing in whatever said place was my current fancy. The travelling didn’t change and more than a few times I sought new sights beyond the boundaries of Europe. Yet, I found the Roman Empire to be the greatest curiosity of the time. It spanned far further than I believed it would, as I had been living just outside of its grasp until I wasn’t. Again my appearance raised questions and no matter where I went I eventually found I was not welcome. So my options became… limited. I could have gone to Russia. I did not fancy the cold. It was too much for my bones to wish to bear. I might not look old but with more than a millennia under my belt I certainly felt the sting of cold when it came at such ferociously low temperatures as can be found in the motherland. Yes, for a time I did indeed live within the great state known as Russia. This was before the revolution. Back when the Tsar’s had ruled the country. Around the time Victoria first married off her children to every part of the continents royal family. Huh. It was such a feat to have achieved. Never equalled or excelled. Had I not known, loosely, the Queen I would’ve sworn her to be like me. Pity she was not.
That reminds me. I suppose I should mention the first time I met someone like me. It was back during the crusades. Yes, it really did take me that long to find another of my ilk. And he certainly wasn’t shy about revealing his gifts. First time I saw him he was stood in the middle of a battlefield surrounded by bodies, armour pierced and shredded by the tips of arrows and blades that had struck him during whatever campaign he this had been, I do not recall.
Like me, he too had, by that time, possessed many names. Unlike me he never settled on one. He swore the cure for a bored heart was to never remain the same man from one life to the next. And he never did. With each one he drastically altered the character of who he had been in the lifetime previously. I saw some of these lives of his and in them he went from pauper to noble to trader to monarch to carpenter to tyrant to saint. To this day I do not know how he did it. I know I could not. My imagination might be vast, but to live as a character you have created so perfectly that you embody them and then cast off that to be someone else entirely, it is remarkable.
I, by contrast, prefer some permanence. I find comfort in things remaining the same. Not most things but a few, like my chosen name. It may, for the most part, only be known to me, but that is sufficient. If nothing else I need a name, consistent, to chastise myself when mistakes are made and yet Kronen? It could not tell you why this name specifically, nor where I first heard it. The reason for its choice was simple however, I liked it.
Now, following this significant detour we will return to my recounting. And we shall pick up, I think, in the trenches of the First World War. To be frank this is not where I originally returned to my tale but alas, time is short and data became corrupted, so needs must if I am to have any hope of reaching the end. Still, it was rather rambling and so as you are aware this war was far from my first and most certainly was not my last.
What war does is present unique opportunities to become a name lost in the mass, in the noise, in the fog. No one cared who I had been, or where I might have come from. They knew I wasn’t German and that I wore a British army uniform and fought alongside them and so that was all that mattered. But the First World War was most unlike any other I had fought in. It was bathed in a fresh barbarity, ferocity and resulted in great injury. It felt, though I knew it was not correct to term it a World War, that our planet might end up consumed in fire and death. Blood filled the trenches but the blood and bodies were nothing compared to the mud. I watched as men rotted before my eyes. The air filled with a stench most obscene. Through it all I endured, for I could. I knew I would make it out. War had become a habit for me. I was like an addict. I couldn’t avoid it. I had to be a part. A unknown part, but a part nonetheless. After all, being known was dangerous for me.
In the early twentieth century there was no greater risk than being known. The world was smaller then that it had ever been. The age of piracy and the British Empire had made sure of that, and I played a role in those too. Though, that is not to say other nations of Europe did not play their own roles in the shrinking of our planet. The Spanish and Portuguese alongside the French I would be remiss not to mention. After all, it was the Spanish who conquered South America, bar Brazil which was a Portuguese endeavour. Yes, I label them differently, with separate terms. There are reasons for this. If you, dear reader, wish to know the whys then I suggest you research history. I am not here to retell of what I was not a part of.
It was in those trenches I saw all the suffering condensed into channels carved through the earth. I knew why the war had begun and it was… maddening. Old allegiances were broken as nations took sides over a matter very few of which were involved in the first place. It seemed that, to me as a man who had seen violence and madness in separation, had finally married into a single entity. I thought the inquisition by the Catholic Church, among other instances, were the most severe but I learned how wrong I was in those trenches. Mustard gas, bullets, shells, mud; it was as if the world itself was taking part in the war. Attempting to swallow up everyone who partook as if that might heal the rift created, and then came the first Christmas. I will remember that most of all. We played football. I honestly don’t recall if there was a victor. History books declare there was. We did not care. Or, at least, I did not care. The peace, as brief as it was, showed there was hope. The next day the madness resumed. Four years of wading through those pits of despair before the end came. Britain was the victor. Germany was defeated. The Empire had prevailed as well it should. These were the feelings of the day. It didn’t change the pain, the suffering, the loss but… it was over at last.
I skulked back into the shadows, having turned down every medal ever wished to be issued unto me. Even took to faking my death, more than a few times, to help aid in me escaping a ceremony which I felt was undeserved.
To be honest, looking back I didn’t think there would be a second war. Not until I set foot in Germany in the thirties. Once I did I wondered how no one could what was coming. This was an example of the bleeding obvious and not some sort of proof toward the existence of clairvoyance.
In Germany in the thirties the air was filled with hate. Plenty of it was borne out of Germany’s defeat and poverty following the war. Poverty made worse with the Wall Street Crash. Still, the blame was felt to be deserved to be placed at the feet of the Kaiser. Yet, what had replaced him was far worse. They might have called themselves National Socialists but they were nothing of the sort. The beer hall speeches, the insignia, the anger, the uniforms, the marching, all of it screamed intolerance. So when came the invasion of Poland and the declaration of war by the British I joined up. It was the first time since my early lives that it had not been an immediate subconscious decision. Where once I had leapt at the chance to go to war I did not now. I loathed the prospect. I still do. The loss had become senseless but this war was… important. I knew it from the moment I heard it declared, recalling what I had seen in the months and years prior to its declaration.
By this time I was considered gentry and owned an estate up in Scotland. Not because I enjoyed the weather, it was cold and too wet for my liking but a good place to disappear. Privacy was easy in Scotland in the early twentieth century. In comparison to the bright lights of London and Paris that is. Plus, with Russia having turned to communism I was not in the mood to entertain forced change. Clearly, as my understanding of what Marx wrote, it seemed the communists did not understand what he had envisioned. Communism in Russia was another instance of a cult of personality. Yet, their cult leader was long dead. His reign barely existed at all. That was until Joseph Stalin. In him the cult of personality was resurrected. In many ways I think it was stronger than Lenin’s ever was. If Lenin was the grandfather of Communism, Stalin was the Father. He embodied it, shaped it, slaughtered all who disregarded or disagreed with it. Just so happens they were the people who disagreed with him too.
But, back to the Second World War. Again, I fought from beginning to end, as was my tendency. Not always as a soldier this time. A few times I had to become… something else. Towards the twilight years of the conflict I served as an intelligence operative. It seemed the British had worked me out. Or so they made it appear. They had not, but I’m skipping ahead again.
The battles, in Europe and beyond, were fierce, bloody, insane affairs where tanks rolled across the land eviscerating all that lay before them while shells obliterated more still.
I was there when the allies were pushed into the sea and I was there when we stormed the beaches. A great many could not say the same and I regretted that enormously. The death tolls were immense. They made the First World War look quaint, from my perspective. Perhaps it was because I did not know of the numbers being lost while I was in those trenches. I certainly did between the battles of the second. The only consolation was that mustard gas did not rear its ugly poisonous head.
I tell a lie, it was good to see no return to the trenches, stalemate and endless rotting potential of the fields of mud also. Still, as I alluded too I ended up in the employ of the intelligence agencies. They were far more primitive then. I wrote as much in a diary I later burned. Records were not best kept during those times. Too many eyes and ears wished to glean information with intent on exploiting and exposing those it pertained too. Didn’t matter whether you held a secret or not back in those days. If it was unknown it was a boon to hold. Many in the US would blame Hoover but that was unfair. He was a man of his time. The Soviets were just as guilty as were the British, the French, everyone in fact. That was the start of the global espionage industry. A campaign that would persist for a very long time, as primitive as it was back in those days. Not at all like the movies, I must say.
It was during my time working in intelligence that I gained access to… details shall we say. These details were, on their own, unlikely to merit interest but combined with other information gathered helped the allies gain and break the Enigma, plan better routes of attack and then finally in nineteen forty five, bring the war to a close.
I was there, though I was not meant to be, to see the Soviets and the Allies march into Berlin. It was then that my intelligence days were done. I’d kept a few things back. Having determined it was for the best.
The British tried to look for me but I’d left the continent. Having returned to the US with a fresh name and no questions as to why I was entering. Those days would soon be over. But my problems were only just beginning. The world was no longer at war, for the second time in the century but other smaller conflicts soon broke out and they were countless.
Unlike previously I did not take part in them. Hence that is why I was forced up and into Canada without having reached a quarter century of being back in the States. Yes the cause was the Vietnam War, and war was something I’d lost a taste for entirely.
The last time I’d lived in the US had been the eighteen hundreds. I had not enjoyed it. The scenery was breathtaking, the people not so much. There was too much senseless madness and many short tempers. I could easily see why these people came out here. If they hadn’t they’d have ended up in prisons, or worse.
But the world was plodding forward under the guise of the Cold War. I lived through it, experienced it and recall little of its importance. Bar one occasion it did not get close to being a war like I’d known. Thankfully, cool heads prevailed. Had Stalin been alive that would not have been the case. I met him once, when he’d been a young man and knew he would prove to be trouble. The look in his eyes had told me all I’d needed to know. For you can tell a great deal by the look in a person’s eyes. I had never met Hitler. I’d seen him, heard him and his ravings, but it was just as well we never met. Had we have the war would not have begun. I wish I had but I did not, a regret that is quite pointless but not one which afflicts me more than a thought lasting a few brief moments at a time. And it is rare for me to think of such things. Immortality makes me look forward. I’m rooted in the past. Convinced it should not be forgotten or swept away, but forever staring ahead. It does explain the deeper malaise I fell into while needing to flee for my freedom around the Americas. Principally of the southern kind where I learned drug cartels are far more belligerent than governments. It’s their reputations I think and more than a few wanted my guts for garters. As you might expect they never managed it. Though, I would be remiss if I did not admit there were plenty of close calls.
Mostly it appeared to stem from the idea that I was some kind of Yankee spy here to steal and cheat them out of their monies. I later learned another like me had been doing exactly that. Never have met the man they spoke of and were mistaking me for. Not sure what I would say if I did. It matters little I feel. Details such as that are best not fashioned in advance of a possible introduction. Doing so tends to sour things and I was sour enough with my life, this world. I’d seen it all. Learnt all I could and forgotten some things I wished I had not. Faces remained as did images, but names were lost to me. They sat ever present on the tip of my tongue but never able to be spoken. A pity but inevitable and not extraordinary I learned from others of my ilk.
When finally my need to remain outside from the US and escape the cartels clutches subsided I returned to the US. Immediately I found that war was the order of the day, every day. An economy reliant on weapons fashioned by the industry and without an enemy, of significant threat, to unleash them upon. It was an odd system, a strange nation. It did not age well. It remained infantile, clinging to ideals borne out of necessity but centuries old. The American’s as they called themselves, but which seemed wrong to me for the American’s were the natives and not all those who had come from Europe and it’s colonies, were the fathers of a new empire they refused to acknowledge as such. After all, they didn’t conquer countries with armies, guns and violence. No, instead they did it through media. That was the buzz of the era. Televisions had far outgrown the older medium of radio but TV’s themselves were nothing compared to computers and the internet. It was a miraculous time to be alive but I hated it. Not the technology or the progress or any of that, I just hated being a part of the world. Not that I had ever really been a part of the world since those early days, apart from being a combatant that is. And so I sat, in my apartment in a tower in New York City. I watched presidents rise and fall. And what I saw n the States was mirrored across much of the rest of the globe.
To be honest I was convinced humanity would not make it out the other side. There was too much division and many claimed they wanted an end to it only to help further propagate the divisions. I could have stepped in. Looking back I believe I should have. But I did not. If this was to be mankind’s swansong then it would be.
When the terrorist attacks of the early twenty first century came I sank further into melancholy and surety that the end was nigh. The signs were everywhere. The wars that followed made it clearer still, in my eyes. Yet, humanity persevered.
Then came along the global pandemic; the first of the twenty first century. Oops, I think I may have spoiled something. How naughty of me.
I was in Australia at the time. America had become too scrutinising of foreigners. Damning those not born in the nation or of similar look to what they perceived as the norm. My tan has never faltered, for I have always favoured warmer climes, and so I was one of those singled out. Strange when you consider that all but a few are foreigners in the USA. And I visited the lands long before those that call it home now had set foot upon that soil. So as attention was not my intention Australia seemed like a perfect choice. A sparsely polluted, for its size, continent seemed perfect and I was proved right when the virus hit and flowed across the Earth.
Australia and New Zealand made good use of their islands statuses. I wish the same could have been said for Britain during that time. Shame really. It was all the fault of their then PM. I met him too as a younger man. I remember him being full of ambition, but no morals or scruples to speak of. He’d sell his own family to get ahead in the world, I had determined. Alas, prison was his fate ultimately, surprising and upsetting very few, as was evident when the verdict was issued and met with cheers of raucous approval. At one time I’d have wished to have been there for such an occasion. That was no longer the case. With the pandemic, harmless to me, I slipped further into wanting an end to what had become endless monotony, almost a century in the making. After all, there were no chances for discovery or adventure anymore. At least, not of the sort that got my pulse racing. But then I don’t think my pulse would have been racing had they existed at that time anyway. Instead, I was looking for a way out. At last, my wish to be immortal had died. It had taken me; by all accounts I had heard, far longer than most. Yet, my demand for an end was much deeper than what others had apparently suffered. And no one had an answer as to how they manoeuvred around such an obstacle. Though, it is said to be the greatest issue which afflicts our ilk.
No we haven’t a name for ourselves. Strange I know, but the truth often is. Reality cannot be tied up in neat little bows. I say that and yet understand how this retelling ends. I do wish corruption had not robbed me of the mid-section of this… I don’t quite know what to call it. An autobiography? No that seems wrong for I have no plans to publish. Then perhaps it should be termed a diary? That too seems inaccurate for this is not something I am doing for my benefit. Journal might be closer and yet… It matters little what this document should be termed. If anything its name should be given by you who reads it. In times gone by I would have assumed you, the reader, to be male. It is the result of sexism that I would have done so but because I myself am male.
There is a great deal less souls now who identify themselves in such linear ways, and with that I feel I should jump to much closer to the present, as I know it.
As I alluded to earlier the global pandemic was not a singular event. There were three more which followed. Each resulted in casualties ten times that of the last. Yes, the final pandemic killed billions. The blame was across generations, well deserved to be so, but the cure was not a needle in the arm, it was a fundamental shift in the way the world operated, the human world that is. I would explain it all but the call has gone out and my time to finish is shorter than ever. Finishing this is quite important; you must understand and hopefully soon will.
With this fundamental change in the ways mankind operated the world healed. The pandemics disappeared. It was not overnight. It was slow and by the end of it no one could understand why these decisions had not been taken earlier. I knew why. I’d lived through it all. I still did not rejoice. Though, I had returned to the world, bored as I was I felt it only right to guide humanity into its oblivion, as I saw it inevitably to be then, and served as a doctor.
You have never experienced mayhem until you’ve worked in a hospital short on staff, beds, space, medicine and hope. Of all my battles that was the hardest to bear. Because there was not an ounce of hope in any of these people and I don’t just mean hope for their own lives, at some point all mortals know when their time is up, but for society as a whole. Yet, it was that defeat that was the catalyst for the shift which followed.
Yet, with the world healed it was apparent that the Earth was not a home any longer. The damage we had done to it meant while it was ‘healed’ but was not reverted to how it had been previously, many centuries earlier. For that there was no going back. Climates had shifted too far and so all nations banded together. I had never seen anything like it. The wars in the early twentieth century had not been the same, nor as universal. For this time there was no enemy, no villain. There was only a problem, one that caused disastrous floods, immobilising heat waves, bone shattering earthquakes, sun-blotting volcanic eruptions and more.
That takes us to today. The year is twenty one sixty three. I’ve escaped my melancholy finally. It was quite transformative and came about when the prospect of walking on new worlds was shoved under my door.
The world continues to be unaware of what I am. That may one day change once humanity is better acquainted with the stars and the reality that life makes little sense. But for now I eagerly await the next step on my journey. And this, these ramblings, they are my gift to whomever might return to this world, Earth as we dubbed it, whenever, if ever, it can be returned to.
If you are reading this, I welcome you to this place and I hope you are well.
If it is I reading this in the future, you better follow this up and while you’re at it rewrite the section that has been lost.
If it is not me, who wrote this, reading then I do hope this might help to serve as a single person’s perspective of their overly long and still ongoing life. On the whole it has been a greater blessing than I ever could have dreamed.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. I don’t agree. Though, when I believed all was lost and humanities fate was sealed I saw how that may be the case for mortals. Their demise would not have afflicted me. It simply would have emptied the world. One I had come to know all too well and felt was too slow for what I need going forth.
Now I’m among the stars; out there, somewhere. I don’t know what I’ll have found, maybe it’ll be you dear reader at some point, but I assure you I will still very much be living and enjoying the limitless potential of the universe.