Hello, Legends and Luminaries!
Would you want to live forever? Watch the world change and evolve? What about being remembered for hundreds and hundreds of years? There’s so much you could do to be immortal. Ironically, you’ll need to race the clock to achieve it , because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Make Me Immortal
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
The concept of immortality is almost as old as time itself. For as long as we’ve had the sundial and the clepsydra, the astrolabe and the hourglass, and the classic ticking wall clock we know today, we’ve had the desire to freeze such devices, halting the march of time itself.
Sure, making oneself immortal in the literal sense is a bit… uh… impossible. But stories go back as far as the stars can remember of beings who were— and possibly still are— alive and kicking for longer than their little red fleshy tickers should have allowed. There’s the vampire, of course; a being of the night that feeds on the blood of the living, turns into rats, bats, or other creatures, is fended off with holy water, crosses and garlic, and disintegrates in the sun. Plenty of stories have been woven with this creature, some even playing with the lore behind them a little. There’s the Gods themselves, sitting upon their thrones or doing whatever they desire simply to entertain themselves, though as many stories tell, this usually involves interacting with the humans who worship them, whether it’s playing tricks on them, making them prophets and “speakers” for the Gods, or simply wooing human women.
But there’s more than just these ways to be immortal, depending on how you want to look at the definition of the word. To be immortal, yes, one can be made to live forever, but there’s also the other definition for it; deserving to be remembered forever.
A person could be completely mortal in the literal sense, being born to human parents, growing at the normal human rate, exploring life’s many adventures, and eventually reaching their elderly years and passing gently in their sleep. But what if they did something great during their life? Perhaps they discovered a cure for some otherwise deadly disease. Maybe they were not only a huge stepping stone in the moving forward of technology, but even advanced it by leaps and bounds. Maybe they were a celebrity that everyone just loved, both on and off camera. Or maybe they weren’t even given a lot of attention in life, and only became immortal after their deaths. For whatever reason, they are immortalized in documentaries and movies, in books and awards. Or perhaps the immortal ones are simply that way because those still alive remember them, and celebrate them during Mexico’s Día de los Muertos festivities.
There’s plenty of ways one can become immortal. Whether those reasons are good or bad, is up to the person achieving that immortality.
So what are you waiting for? Time waits for no one! Get out there, and leave your memorable mark on the world!
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.
Rules and Guidelines
We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!
Text and Formatting
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
- Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
- No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
What to Submit
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
- Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
- No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
- Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
- One submission per participant.
- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
- Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
- You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
- Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
- Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
- You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
- Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.
Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
Cooler Heads, Better Outcomes
by Lunabear (Cursed Brothers) (CW: violence, blood, and death)
Cal glared fire down at his older brother. His fingers itched and crackled with restrained power. Loyalty and hostility exchanged blows within his chest.
“Get away from–” One hand passed roughly over Remy’s face. He returned Cal’s glower while stepping away from Sephrina. “SHE aducts you, but I– What is wrong with you, Cal?”
Sephrina scurried up the stairs, stopping only long enough to place a reassuring hand on Cal’s shoulder. “I’m all right,” she cooed for his ears alone.
Cal gave her a soft smile in return. Relief minutely cooled his anger as Sephrina reached the landing and clutched Helatia’s hand.
Returning his scowling expression to Remy, Cal descended the last stair until they stood toe to toe. Almost a foot shorter, Cal snarled up at Remy.
“Ohhhhhhhhh!” Remy’s incredulous eyes bounced from Cal to the sisters then back. He smiled sardonically while shaking his head. “Now I see which head you’re thinking with, little brother.”
Helatia’s hiss collided with Sephrina’s gasp.
Cal bristled, the sparks from his fingers intensifying. “Watch your words, Rem. You don’t know–”
Remy chuckled and leaned next to Cal’s ear. His tone dropped to a salacious whisper. “I hope for your sake that it was deep enough. Otherwise–”
With a massive shove, Cal sent Remy sprawling backwards. The impact didn’t register until blood gushed from Remy’s mouth and spurted from his neck, where a spearhead was now lodged.
Cal’s rage died on a whimper. “Remy?”
Remy freed himself, hand to his wound, soundless words forming. He crumpled to the floor and wheezed his last breath.
“Remy, no!” Cal rushed to Remy, rolling him gently to his back. His tears flowed faster than his profuse apologies. The sisters were by his side in a heartbeat.
They watched in horrific fascination as the wound stitched itself closed.
Remy’s chest shuddered from heavy gasps, eyes focusing. He reached for Cal’s throat with fervor. “Gonna…kill…you!”
Cal pushed Remy’s attempts away with a watery laugh.
Remy groped blindly at his bloody neck.
The sisters shared an awestruck look.
Cal marked his inner arm for the 47th time.
Omarie, Defier of Fate
The scroll turns to ashes in his hands. The air vibrates with raw potential. The Aether, omnipotent and infinitely powerful, turns its attention to him. No longer will Omarie, the middle child, the scorned and ignored one, be a disappointment to his family. The realms shall know his name for lifetimes to come. He’s about to accomplish what no one has done yet, and challenge the gods to their own game.
“I wish for immortality.” The words repeated like a mantra over the years fall from his lips almost of their own accord.
The air becomes oppressive. His vision blurs, his sense of the room fades, and the blood in his veins rushes hotter than it ever has before. Is this it? Has he done it?
[There is always a price, child.] The Aether does not speak but Omarie hears it all the same. It comes to him as if it is his own thoughts, bubbling to the surface to be heard.
“Child?” He cries without thinking, “I am in my second century, I am NOT–”
Stars are born and die. Planets spark into existence; some crash into each other and become smaller planets, some spin fruitlessly within their own space, others flourish. He watches the heat death of one universe while another creates itself from nothing. How old is the universe, he wonders? How old must one be if they are time itself? The Aether answers his question, but his mortal mind spins, turns inside out, and nearly shatters trying to comprehend it.
He comes back to himself a moment later, breathless and feeling scraped-out but intact. His head pounds. Liquid seeps from his nose.
“…not nearly as old as you.” Omarie murmurs, ashamed.
[I can grant you immortality.] It reminds him, patiently.
He feels weak and powerless.
[But there will always be a price.]
The metallic twang of blood mocks him.
[Are you willing to pay it?]
He spits. He will not back down now.
[Then it is done.]
I Want What You Have
By Marcas José Tynan Lopez
“I was born amidst a plague. Surrounded and stricken by illness and woe. Not many of us survived. And those of us that did, were less than… Ugly.
I have never felt strong nor lively. Everyday my bones threaten to shatter and my muscles shiver under the weight of my meagre mass.
And yet… I stand. Alive, and old…
I never lived.
I sought you out, I found you. Immortal.”
Oliver hobbled into the grotto. Away from the whipping winds and rain. He was running out of time, even now. Their eyes restfully opened, like a butterfly’s wings before flight. Oliver’s cackle hung in clouds, as the Immortal awoke.
They weren’t truly a man. No, they were something more. An alcove, filled with plentiful roots, vegetables and minerals. The very air itself infused with light and swirling like curled hair. But still beneath it all, the outline, the idea of man. From that idea, came a voice.
Oliver’s face lengthened. He formed a few half words, aborting each, before his mind could calculate a response. His cane clanked as he drew near.
The Immortal’s chest expanded.
Oliver began to laugh, nerves and disbelief spiraling in his mind.
“Please if you’d just…”
“I need you to listen.”
“I want what you have!!!”
Oliver roared, but his lungs gave out. He began to cough with a thunderous bloody beat. He looked up through his squinting eyes, to see the Immortal crying.
Sap, or blood, or something like honey. But they were crying.
“No. Young One. No.
You misunderstand our purpose. We do not live forever. Nothing does.
We see like the planets do. Second by second, hour by hour, year by year. We bare witness.
Until it is our time
There is nothing to be afraid of. I’ve seen your life. The good, the bad, the hardships and triumphs.
You are beautiful.
It is true, Oliver.
I have seen it.
So stand proud, Son of Eve!
For you have lived!”
by Shawyn Waddell
The bridge of Penelope’s nose creased at the sight and aroma of a breakfast that resembled wet mattress filling. The saffron-robed monk’s face added another convivial crevice to its decades of laugh lines.
“You Britishers don’t like dhaniya,” he chuckled with rising animation, “but cor-i-an-der makes us live for-ev-er!”
Coriander by any of its names haunted Penelope from Istanbul to Kathmandu. The soapy flavor and mongrel aroma lingered after meals. Regardless, Penelope met the monk’s breakfast offering with British politeness.
The monk’s vivaciousness drew Penelope to him, and Penelope’s inquisitiveness intrigued the monk. Thus, for one month in 1949, Chitavake became Penelope’s companion and guide in Nepal, and constantly found ways to douse her meals with fresh coriander. By the end of her Everest pilgrimage, Penelope found that food without a touch of the herb was bland.
She returned to York, and sold everything that did not fit in her suitcase. Over the corresponding five decades, Penelope called seven countries home, each with a penchant for coriander, dhaniya, cilantro, or whatever local name used for coriandrum sativum.
In 1998, Penelope moved to Florida, and became one more septuagenarian in the once-proud Lavender Cilantro Villas — nomenclature chosen for the gaudy color scheme, and not the obscure connotation of herbaceous immortality.
“Ms. Webb,” the letter from the housing authority started. Penelope was delighted with these letters. They usually came months after a new resident moved in.
“We are writing because your yard violates blah, blah, blah,” Penelope mimicked. “Gardens are for decorative flowers, not vegetables.”
Penelope detested supermarket herbs. The front yard got the sun, and so, Penelope replaced the postage stamp sized lawn with coriander, and a smattering of dill, lavender, oregano, and parsley. The latter four being safeguards in case the coriander didn’t work.
No one knew how old Penelope was, as she outlived all her original neighbors.
At what Cost?
He needed to work faster. Time was running out faster than he could afford.
He was working furiously at a table covered haphazardly in unrecognizable glass laboratory equipment. Papers were strewn everywhere, almost completely black with ink. Under the ambient light of glowing test tubes, his white hair and wrinkles were especially prominent, casting deep lines across his face, scars of a long life.
All at once as the last few drops of the glowing liquid came out of his dropper into a bowl of opaque black liquid the light disappeared. In a motion denoting years of practice, he took up the small blade he had at the ready and cut the tip of his finger, creating a steady drip of blood over the bowl. As the first drop landed, the darkness of the room was replaced with a deep red glow, and instead of spreading out across the black surface, the blood quickly formed a column straight up towards the man’s finger, the connection was made, a blinding flash of light, and the man was thrown against the wall.
He was immediately able to feel the long sought for changes taking place throughout his body. His skin tightened, his hair grew darker and darker until his whole visage was that of a young man.
His mind, however, was in a state of complete chaos. The mental acuity that he held voraciously onto for years was rapidly leaving, and in its place flooded the memories and images of the blasphemous deeds and innocent souls destroyed to accomplish what he had done.
As all the of his years of alchemical and esoteric learning left him, the vestiges of his mind were able to feel the last of what had made him human leave him, leaving only the beast hidden within his soul to reign within his body.
By Papileser Eilitharl
A loud, thunderous boom shook the earth as Henry awoke with a start. The constant pounding of artillery had struck far closer than before.
As he jumped up and threw on his jacket, he saw he wasn’t the only one startled awake by the blast. Dozens of other soldiers were throwing on boots and jackets, snatching up guns and helmets as they rushed out of the bunker. He grabbed the book he was reading and tucked it into his breast pocket, threw his helmet on his head, and grabbed his rifle as he bolted out of the barracks.
Earth-shaking explosions accompanied the deluge as if a constant thunder was brewing in the clouds. Men drenched in rain and sweat stood on the raised platform along the trench, rifles cracking away at the enemy lines. Officers screamed out orders, lining up soldiers near the ladders. A shell detonating nearby blasted dirt and debris into the air, sending soldiers ducking for cover.
Henry felt himself being pulled to his feet as his officer barked orders in his face, but he couldn’t hear anything over the piercing ring of the aftershock. The officer reached into his jacket and yanked out the book, holding it up for everyone to see. He shouted, “They’re gonna write one of these about us! So let’s give ‘em something to write about!” The soldiers yelled as bagpipes and whistles blew. Scrambling out of the trench like a swarm of ants from a disturbed mound, they charged across the barren wasteland of their own creation.
In moments, the charging soldiers were being torn apart by the ballistic maelstrom. Henry was blasted in the chest and thrown back into an artillery crater. Suddenly there was only darkness.
Thirty years had passed since that night. Henry stood at the edge of the crater that had sheltered him from the firestorm. He looked back to the ridgeline, where just before the trench, a stone marker immortalized, “Here lie the brave 15th Company”. Henry reached into his breast pocket to retrieve a small book, the rifle bullet still lodged in it.
Fragments of What Remains (Oneiron Universe)
By: Insania404 [Private Repost]
Alfred turned to the picture again, the three figures on its surface blissfully unaware of their unfortunate futures. He caught a glimpse of a grotesquely thin creature in his periphery and sighed as he turned to face him.
“You know, he designed this facility when he was twelve. When he showed us the layout and the intricate details of his vision, we chalked it up to childish dreams. He was the baby of our group and me and his brother were already jaded by reality. This world had no place for dreamers.”
The thin creature timidly stepped closer, unsure of whether the words were directed toward him. His voice was shaky, his response almost a whisper. “What happened?”
“Come closer and I’ll tell you. You don’t have to be afraid of me anymore, Thirteen. My reaction was from a lack of understanding. The director set me straight. He could always keep us grounded.”
Alfred placed the picture on the desk and spun it around for Thirteen to see. He pointed at the people starting from the left.
“This is me, the right one is Andrew, and that one in the middle, that’s Jamie, who you’ve known as the director. Their mother took this picture of us after Jamie finished high school. I called off sick from work so I could be there, and I believe Andrew was preparing to go to college in a few weeks. At the time, nothing could separate our bond.”
Thirteen could tell there was great sorrow underneath the words that Alfred spoke. “Things changed. Didn’t they?”
“Time proved us wrong. I lost my job shortly after Andrew’s accident and Jamie grew more obsessed with technology to cope. He hired me on as soon as he could, but Jamie had changed. It was no longer about simple virtual reality games. It was about creating ideal worlds where people could run from their ails. In a way, he had defeated death with denial.”
Thirteen understood. “The CiRFiS.”
Alfred nodded. “As long as Oneiron Corporation still stands, the Pulchant brothers will live forever, exactly as Jamie had planned.”
The Cost of Eternity (Repost from Private)
By: ThatWeirdFish (Reviewed by Specter)
You have done everything. Fought angels and demons, trekked through the deepest parts of the universe, sacrificed everything you’ve held dear… and, finally, you arrived at the door. His door.
You raised your hand to knock, but the door swung open on its own.
“Come in, come in. Make yourself at home,” his disembodied said cordially.
“Oh, don’t explain yourself,” he cut you off while you inhaled to speak. “We both know what you’re here for.”
Your throat went dry as you nodded and stepped into the messy study. You turned to the desk at the sound of rustling paper, only to see sheets of music flutter to the floor.
“A human, figures,” his disappointed voice muttered right behind you.
You whipped around, but nothing was there. Was that… the scent of licorice? That’s… oddly specific. You slowly turned back around and flinched as those cunning golden eyes pierced your soul with their gaze.
“Let’s cut to the chase, shall we,” he said coldly. “You in your infinite wisdom decided to bargain with chaos to gain the power of the gods?”
“Yes… I… wanted to….” You falter under his unblinking gaze.
“Save the world? Your lover? Fulfill some righteous cause?” He sneered. “Your excuse doesn’t matter to me. What can you, a mortal, offer to a god of gods?”
He raised an eyebrow over his scrutinizing gaze as he waited.
“Everything you want: soul, body, mind,” You plead to the entity. “Just… don’t let me die.”
He chuckled and spoke as if addressing a child. “If you gave me your everything, why, you will die. For I have no use for any of it. Why take a mind when I can think for myself? Why eat a body if I feel no hunger?”
He stepped closer with a dark frown.
“Why would I accept an offering given to any basic demon?” His eyes narrowed at you.
“I have nothing else… please… grant me immortality. I’ll pay any price, do anything!”
“Actually… there is something I can take in exchange,” He said, looking you over. “Your emotions.”
“Deal,” You said indifferently.
By Robin Graves
Everyone wonders about the afterlife, it’s part of the human condition: pay taxes, worry about dying, and then die in spite of all that worrying. Truth is, I couldn’t tell you much about it myself, even though I’m what some might call “experienced” with it. I’ve lived for thousands of years, through hundreds of lives, and died in nearly as many (minus the one, obviously). As soon as I breathe my last, I take my first somewhere thousands of miles away.
Which really ends up being a pain, because I still remember everything. Maybe not all at first, but the memories awaken as my skull hardens and my brain develops. I remember being three years old and recalling the memories of my previous life as a vicious warlord. Have you ever been psychologically damaged by your own memories? I have; I had nightmares for years of things I later came to understand were my own actions.
It’s not all wise life lessons passed down by a seasoned sensei. Suddenly that conscience you didn’t have before comes back to bite you when you’re just old enough to recognize you were a monster. No, that you are a monster, because you can’t pretend to be divorced from the consequences. I’ve spent lifetimes of piety, devoting myself entirely to others, meditating to become one with everything, but one good life doesn’t make up for even one bad one. They don’t negate; you remember them both simultaneously. You remember feeling full of the grace of God as you run a food kitchen in the same second you remember cutting a boy’s hands off for stealing stale bread.
I’ve made the conscious decision to be a monster because I knew I’d live a more successful life. It’s a kind of guilt that follows you, and I’ve used it to justify living more lives just like it, justified by the creed that “you can only get so wet.”
These are just a few of the thoughts running through my head before the first day of third grade. Which life will I choose to live this time?
Sing For Me
by Alexsander Edwards (EddySc)
Adrian had ignored the warnings. A new priest of a dying religion, he’d been told of the void, of the emptiness. He’d been told to give up his dreams.
But he did not listen.
Now, two decades later, the burden had become too much. As his congregation dissipated, the temple’s silence grew to match that of Adrian’s gods. How could he preach to the common folk when the “Divine Voice” had been muted? How could he bring faith to people’s hearts when he himself found none? No, he had to try and reach them.
And try he did. Every night, his dark robes covered the carmine tapestry of his personal chambers. Countless candles surrounded the thin man as he knelt down and prayed for hours, only to receive nothing but silence.
Yet, he persisted. What else was he to do? Accept that the old gods had left, leaving room for false idols to take over the earth?
“I beg of you, o great ones,” he chanted – what once was an improvised prayer had now become a repeated ceremony. “Bradhi. Geyir. Please…” he cried, tears rolling down his dark eyes.
A cold wind broke the silence. As the room drowned in shadows, a distorted face took over the priest’s mind. Its skin cracked and white as bone, hiding blackened, empty eye sockets. As the dreaded thing chuckled, a loud voice, screeching like nails on a chalkboard, echoed in Adrian’s mind.
“So, you wish to find your gods?” it said, grinning more and more, showing shark-like teeth. “Maybe you need some help with that…”
“I am… a friend,” it interrupted. “You need your gods, and I know your gods. I can help you,” the thing paused. “Not that you have much choice…”
Adrian felt his mind being surveyed, as if a dozen needle-like fingers caressed his brain, trying to learn all they could. Somehow, he knew his future was tied to the dark creature’s.
“You want something in return,” he whispered, defeated.
“Oh yes, I very much do,” it responded. “Your job is to preach, no? To proselytize?” it grinned. “So, sing for me, little Adrian. Make me immortal!”
by Reluctant Discord User
“Thank you for seeing me doctor…”
“Sheldon. Doctor Sheldon. And there’s no need to thank me, this is my job. Why don’t you have a seat right over there?”
“No, I think I’ll stand if that’s alright with you.”
“As you wish Courtney. What would you like to discuss today?”
“Well it’s something… that’s been bothering me for a while now. I don’t know, I think it’s ridiculous.”
“Nothing in this room is too ridiculous to discuss. You’re free to speak however you want.”
“Uhm, it’s about… immortality. And me. I… I want to be immortal, doctor.”
“I see. Do you fear death Courtney? You don’t have to answer if you wish.”
“Who doesn’t? All animals are programmed to survive right?”
“Something tells me you’re talking about a different kind of death.”
“How did you know?”
“Intuition and guess work.”
“You’re right… in a sense. See, I recently came to a revelation. I had been pondering the concept of fear for some time now. I wanted to know what the greatest fear for humans is. I’m currently writing a horror novel and I figured this would be a great way to make it stand out. My mind kept coming back to death as the ultimate fear.”
“But I wasn’t content with that. There are thousands of horror stories themed around death. I needed my story to be more unique. So I started researching people’s views on life, and how it dictates their day to day actions. And I noticed a pattern. Almost everyone fears death, but not in the physical sense. The want for children, someone to carry on our legacy. Making yourself known to the world. Monarchs ruling their country. They’re all trying to avoid one thing. Being forgotten. Doctor, true death isn’t the body ceasing to function. True death is disappearance from memory. Almost everyone wants something to show the world that they were here. To leave a mark. Become immortal.”
“Hmm… is that why you’re a writer Courtney?”
The New King
by Gabriel M. Rayback
(Warning: Slight Gore)
Ian stood before the massive, hideous creature that was once the Tyrant King Charles. O and what a horrible beast it was. It stood upon four boney legs, each with five massive claws once reminiscent of human fingers. It had a long and malnourished body, with a terrible worm that once may have been a tale. It’s neck was very long, but it could barely hold the weight of that terrible old worm’s head. The head looked like that of a crocodile, but it had long, greasy white hair that once may have been a beard. The creature had huge wings, each covered in holes.
As Ian observed this disturbing creature’s slumber, he shuddered to think that it was once a man. A man who was once king. He had been corrupted by a terrible gem, a gem which promised the user Immortality. The king had wanted to rule forever, so he sought out the gem. However, the gem began to destroy him, and while his transformation of body was terrible, his transformation of mind was even more terrible.
Ian crept up to this sad creature, preparing to slaughter it. It’s rule over the land had caused so many souls to wither away into suffering, to die alone and unloved. Ian wanted to put an end to the age of darkness and begin a new age of enlightenment. This creature that was so horrible, was the key to ending all the terror in the land. Ian slowly and quietly drew his sword, and swiftly slit the throat of the creature. Instantly, blood gushed from the gash in the neck, and Ian could see the creature’s sliced throat inside. The creature cried in anguish, and gave it’s last breath before dying. Ian had freed the land, but he also pitied the creature. He solemnly climbed up to the throne and sat upon it, putting on the dusty crown. Charles hadn’t worn it in years. Ian was the new king. He then noticed something by the side of the throne. It was a gem. Ian looked at himself in the reflection of the gem. He took a long pause, and finally came to a conclusion. He couldn’t let another terrible king take over, so he must live forever. He looked at the gem, and spoke those horrible words:
“Make me Immortal”
The Impossible Crime
by Lee Strangely
“We are blessed to be alive in this beautiful world, and this wondrous time. We are blessed to have the gods live among us and guide us with their vast wisdom. They even shared their abilities among our own people!” the inspector explained, “So why do you despise them?”
“Because they aren’t gods,” the man across the table answered, the handcuffs straining as he leaned back in his chair.
“You said that lie before. I want to know why you did it.”
“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t true,” he remarked, intentionally doing a poor job of hiding his smirk.
“Why did you do it?”
“Because how else are you supposed to get their attention. We’re fruit flies to them, we may be annoying, but they don’t care. All they have to do is wait a day and the we’ll just die on a window sill somewhere. The only way for us insects to warrant their attention, is to show them we have stingers.”
“The gods care deeply for us. You have an interesting philosophy, but this doesn’t tell me why you did it.”
“Mr. Inspector,” the man asked, “suppose you could outlive everything on Earth. Say about a couple thousand years were to pass. Everything you cared about or could possibly care about will disappear whether you like it or not. Tell me, would you come out of this caring more about the world or less?”
“WHY?!” the inspector shouted in frustration, “Why did you kill him?!”
The man ignored him, pretending to stare off into space.
“Gaagh!” the inspector barked, hitting his fist against the table as he got up and prepared to leave.
As he opened the door the man turned to face him, “Wait, don’t you want to know?”
“I don’t care why you killed him anymore. We know you did and have evidence to prove it.”
“Not why Mr. Inspector…How.”
The inspector barely, but noticeably, turned his head.
“The “gods” may heal fast, but they still need blood. Blood still needs to clot, and as it turns out, Komodo
venom is an excellent anticoagulant.”
The Watcher and The Teller
by Mysten Noire Silver
Life after life, death after death, the seemingly endless cycle of reincarnation had worn it down. Guilt, pain, and understanding were all it had left. It looked at its precious student and felt the warmth of her tears. The young maiden tearfully wailed, her wings messy from the frantic movements. It began to wonder…
“My life this time is one of the longest yet, and I have taught you the most…” Its voice was weak but gentle, “Which is why I cannot accept your request, Young Starlight.”
“MASTER! Please, I’m sure I can help! At the very least, just release your burden. You should finally rest–”
“And leave you alone?”
The maiden fell silent yet her sobs wouldn’t stop.
In this long life, it had finally found a way to rest and transfer its reincarnation curse… But it was slightly unwilling to pass it—complete with its pains and burden—to Starlight.
“Young Starlight, live life to its fullest and enjoy peace in death for me,” it sounded tired yet relieved, but…
“Make me immortal.” The maiden, Starlight, repeated her words from many millennia ago when her teacher first told her the tale of its origin.
Its student’s determined gaze startled it and it ached for her. It understood her the best, after all. Starlight had learned all she could from it and now, it could even discuss recent insights with her.
She would make a wonderful Watcher.
As Starlight wiped her tears and calmed her sobs, she gazed into the grey eyes of her master.
“Make me immortal, Master,” Starlight insisted.
After a moment of silence, it sighed. The teller began the transfer ceremony resignedly and thought of what to gift its prized student. It pulled out its heart before Starlight could react and implanted her soul with it.
“My mortal heart. Carry it through your reincarnations. It contains my sealed memories and insights… For whenever you need it, and as a reminder of our restrictive immortality.”
“I will always be with you, Young Starlight… No, the new Watcher Goddess, Starlight Aria.”
– End of The Watcher and The Teller
To Dance with Time
I was killing time, once again. You see, it was quite annoying, as it just kept resurrecting itself. “How many times has it been?”, I thought to myself, while watching time fall. Again. Again. And again. I was no longer able to remember how it all began, so that a certain particular thought occurred to me. Which was first? That the both of us existed, or that I was fighting it? Again. Again. And again. It questioned the very reason of our existence. Did I live to kill time or did time live to be killed by me? I did not think so. At first, but with the passing of aeons my time became all jumbled up and just kept confusing me. Why did I kill time? Again. Again. And again. Only the memories of me and it, joined in eternal struggle, have not faded yet. But what is the meaning behind it though? What did I wish for? Revenge? For what reason? Time is cruel and yet just. It has given everyone the time they need, so that it is only one´s own fault if it was lost. Eternity? Why, have I not already obtained it? My eternal immortality? For I have fought with time over the course of millennia and yet have not aged a single second. Why should I fight it? Or is this the price? To kill time? Again. Again. And again?
I was killing time, once again. As it fell, the seconds stretched for the first time in a while.
You did that, now, did you not? You, who has glimpsed into a single moment of eternity. No need to be surprised, I have already known for quite some time that you were watching us. Has your curiosity been sated? Have you seen the dread of what you seek? Or do you still wish to continue your path? Collecting time is not worth the struggle, but do as you wish, for that shall be your happiness.
Our visitor closed his eye, time returned to normal. It, no, he stood up, and forgetting all the time that passed, I repeated the words of our first battle.
“Shall we dance?”
By Local Goblin
In a vast desert plane, who’s dunes seemed like waves as sands writhed and slithered around, this desert held bones of monstrosities so colossal that they perplexed the mind while also holding skeletons of primordial men who seemed to be stuck in a prayer for eternity. These giant beings of formal glory and triumphs, were now reduced to but measly bones, there were ten of these behemoths — these god like creatures — and then hundreds of skeletons of yonder men from an age long forgotten to war and blood scattered across the desert; they were always facing one of the titans, always watching through death’s eyes.
At the very center of the vast desert, stood a ruined temple that shone in the sun; it was made of an old and dull gold, with two large pillars standing at the entrance, one in utter disrepair and the other standing firmly. If one were to venture further into the dismal place of prayer, at the center stood a pristine white marble altar, it had dried ichor upon it’s top pedestal, and before it a mighty man stood tall. He was the peak of human height, his body honed to perfection, he adorned a white padded shirt with a golden left shoulder, atop of it was a black collared jacket which had golden intricate designs. His head was cloaked with a white gilded shroud. In one hand he held a round glass bottle which held a strange golden elixir. He took the bottle and held it up high to the sun in the west, and said, “Hear me here, I am king of kings, god of gods, and death itself. Those who pray to me seek solace and comfort in my protection, I have bathed in the blood of entities so powerful they could bend the universe to their will. I am Ozyrus, the slave god who was born from the crippled body of a broken man, I am your lord. I am your demise and your salvation. With the essence of Yshalghul, I shall become unbreakable, I shall become immortal.”
Pen of Immortality
By The Missing Link
I sat hunched over my desk late that night, shivering away the cold in hopes to coax something onto the page. I stared down at the empty sheet, pen grasped in hand screaming in my mind to join the two in symphony, but no music came, no sweet words to connect to the world. Worlds danced through my head, tales of war and peace, love and sorrow, everything… yet nothing. All these sights and sounds rattling around, cursing my thoughts with desire, the desire to share them, but still nothing came to the page.
As I continued my agonizing efforts, my thoughts began to shift and swell. No longer did my daydreams dwell on the vibrant vistas of elsewhere, but instead they came crashing down in thunder as myriad voices. There was my mother, my father, my whole family, and beyond them my friends, but at the very center was the most frightening voice of all, my own. They all sounded in cacophonous accord one thought, the one I had been trying to keep at bay my whole life, one I was now convinced was fact, “You can’t do it. You’re a failure.”
These were the last words I wanted to hear, but they were hardly unexpected. It’s a tricky thing those lies you tell yourself, “I can’t do it. I have no talent. I’m as worthless as my art.” If you tell them to yourself long enough, they start to become true, true or something close enough that they might as well be one in the same. Now faced with the “truth” of my failure, I put down my pen, my chance to live immortal in the eyes of the world, and left the page occupied with only the soft rains of regret.
“Precursor and Successor”
By: Arith Winterfell
I’m so very tired to be honest. I’ve lived a full life of experiences. Hell, I’ve seen and done things my grandparents could scarcely dream about. I’ve walked on alien moons, and seen the birth of new life. I’ve watched an interstellar empire crumble, and the rise of new would-be empires in their place. I’ve loved and lost people I’ve loved so dearly. After so many centuries of life, and so many replaced body parts to fix whatever in me fails, I’m ready to pass on. Perhaps to see the next world of wonders, or to finally fade into tender oblivion.
Still, I’ve not lived a fraction of the life of those still long burning stars. Still further, there is a part of me that doesn’t want to see it all end. So, I’m writing to you to explain why I’ve made the decision to undergo the uploading procedure. Even though it will really only produce a digital copy of my consciousness rather than being the original me. I’ll still be here, ready to pass on. For me it will finally end, but I don’t want to disappoint those who love me dearly leaving each of you a bit more alone. So, I’ve made the hard decision to create a copy of myself to live on after me. In this way I can continue to be there for those I love even after I’m gone.
Know that I do this with trepidation. This is different than having children. I’m bringing into the world a consciousness that will outlast whole solar systems and live to see the merger of the Milky Way Galaxy and Andromeda Galaxy. It will live on long past anything else. In a sense, I’m cursing a child with that. To live on, always losing everything you love. Have mercy upon it my children. Love it with your hearts and should it choose to end its own long stretching existence, comfort it and be supportive of its choice too.
Eye of a Hawk
By Tamela Redfin
Weeks passed while Ada was making the arm, and so far it looked passable. I mean it looked like a robotic arm. I was looking in Ada’s tool chest she had when I noticed a rhombus shaped blue stone with brown stripes.
“Hey Ada, what’s this rock?” I asked her.
Ada gasped. “You can’t let anybody see that! That was my mother, Iris’s. Her Hawk’s Eye stone.”
Ada groaned, “I’ll tell you after we finish, but first can I please have the titanium plating?”
It was later in the night when Ada tugged on my sleeve. “Chlorine Keely, are you awake?”
“I am now. What is it, Ada?” She opened her palm, revealing the Hawk’s Eye.
“This is how we knew so much about dimension traveling. Our mother, I mean… My clone mother, Iris, did it. She used the blue stone, better known as the Hawk’s Eye. But, father disapproved of her perceived immortality and then…”
“Shh, it’s okay Ada.”
She placed it in my palm. “I want you to have it. You and your brother can travel together. I think that’s how it works.”
I was in shock for sure. But what about Sodium Kennedy? He would die alone, but giving Phosphorus Cameron a traveling buddy was a good idea. But who?
“Does Cameron have any fruendes?”
I knew the Cryspellen word for friend. “Cameron is mostly a loner. But, I now know… no… should I?”
“Radon Cecilia, you mean? Give her the stone?” Ada asked. “I’d see if she’s ready first. Also, I’ve never heard of dimension traveling cyphas. Iris said cyphas don’t always exist.”
“It’s a shot, no?” I nodded. “The arm is the first test for her. Then if she keeps her end of the deal, I’ll make her immortal!”
“Gude iden!” Ada replied.
The Lorn Shadow
By Ann W. T
How does it feel to not be scared of the dark? To be guarded against the perils of the night, to be the nightmare that hungers for fear and instigates the screams and cries in the hollows? To never even brush Death nor touch on get in its way? To have never been born, never have a beginning to cherish and remember, to never die or have an end to be afraid of? How does it feel to never touch the light nor see the sun, to live whenever there are darkness and only the cold darkness, fated to never know warmth and to never touch another life that had not been touched previously by Death? How does it feel?
To that, the shadow replied. “It feels lonely.”
For the shadow was only that. A shadow. To some, a monster yet to many it was simply the last thing they would see before meeting their end- the cold touch of Death. It had never known life however it only existed because of it, the same way it was only a complete being for there was light to make its shadows. It had never seen the sun yet it only existed because the same set every day giving space to the night to rule the skies where there where darkness.
It had never known the warmth shared by others for its sole purpose was to steal it, to end it. It had never possessed a true name for the ones that could remember it could share those moments no more, could speak of the cold shadow no more.
The shadow was lonely, indeed, as it would be as long as that world existed. As long there was light to bring darkness, tears to shed and warmth to steal the shadow would be there. Waiting. Longing. Aching.
How does it feel to be this lonely? To never be remembered, never be touched, never be alive? To watch so many ends, beginnings yet to never be able to be a part of them? How does it feel?
The shadow replied. “I feel tired.”
Creation started with an idea, and from that idea, the All-Father began to shape the earth. First, he gave the new world water from which plants could thrive. Then, he raised mountains and dug seas to provide a home for the animals. And finally, His eyes turned toward the sky. He tapped at the black void, and a great light sprung up, then another, and another. With his last tap, he spoke to the newest star.
“You are the brightest in the night sky. Your glow will never fade, and with your light, you will guide the travelers of the land below you.”
The little star was beside itself with excitement and pride, and as soon as the sky showed a hint of dusk, it jumped into the air, and directed its light to the land below.
As the star looked on, it found a group of nomads in the tundra. Each night the star twinkled, and they traveled toward its brilliance, but every time, there was one less than before. Ten, five, four, until they were no more.
Saddened, the star looked for someone new to guide, and found a boat drifting along the lazy seas. The star sparkled, calling them with its light. In turn, the men lifted their heads, pointed their fingers, and set the sails.
For months the men stared at the star, and it smiled back down at them. Until one fateful day, the clouds blocked the star’s view of the world; the next night, the boat was nowhere to be found.
The star cried, and searched again for another seeking its guidance. This time, the star found none. Each night it rose to seek a new traveler, but the people of the land below had their eyes turned toward the ground. Not a one looked up, and as time ticked by, the star found its view of the land was growing more hazy.
The eternal black fog thickened, and the cities grew brighter until the star could no longer look upon the people. But still, it twinkled.
Death To The Deathless (Chronicles of The Dragon)
“So you’re betraying me.” She sighed. “You know, Eros figured you would from the start. I had faith in you.”
He shrugged. “I wouldn’t call it a betrayal. This was always the plan, if it looked like you were actually going to succeed. Sure, I need to kill people, but I’ve no interest in ruling the world. Or seeing anyone else ruling it.”
“I never doubted your strength, but you do realize I’ve taken the title of Death,” she said with raised eyebrows. “I’ve defeated Gods. It’s not too late to change your mind.”
Jonathan closed his eyes and smiled. He looked back at her. “Nah. It’d be a shame to waste all the effort I put into getting this.” And he pulled out an elaborately decorated, seemingly ceramic, egg that was slightly larger than his fist.
Lady Keres’ eyes bulged. “How did you get that.”
He spun the egg in his hand. “I sniffed it out.”
Glaring death at him she asked, “Do you have any idea what you hold?”
“I’ve an idea.” And his hand flexed, and the egg shattered. Chunks of concrete and shards of steel scattered around the room.
Lady Keres gasped.
Jonathan couldn’t see what had been sealed in the egg, but he could feel it.
Lady Keres could see it, and watched with a perfect mix of horror and longing, as her soul returned to her body.
Whole again, Lady Keres started to smile. Then she giggled. Then she laughed.
“I don’t know what you thought you were accomplishing with that, but I’m stronger than ever now! The barest glimmer of hope you had to beat me before is GONE! And by your own hand! I’ve lost nothing, but you have lost EVERYTHING!”
Jonathan nodded. “I thought that might happen.” He stretched his shoulders and arms. “But as strong as you may be now, you’re mortal.” He dropped into a low stance. “Which means you’ve lost any hope you had of beating ME.”
Memories of a Mortal
A cacophony of beeping wakes Janice from her fitful slumber. The bright white of the room makes her squint and turn her pounding head into the pillow and wish for more dreams. Instead, a memory.
There is the sweet giggle of a young girl stick-fighting with her brothers. The boys are focused on one another as she springs up behind them with a thrust of her faithful sword. Both boys fall to the ground in surrender as she giggles again. If only you could make me immortal I could play with them forever.
The next memory is many years later, she hides on the stairs after flashing blue and red woke her. Her parents are huddled together at the door. She starts sobbing when she overhears the officer. The crash was fatal and her brothers would never come home. If only you could make them immortal I could see them again.
The door creaks open and a cheerful tone asks how she’s feeling. The room wavers when her eyes open to reply.
“My head is pounding, can’t I just go back to sleep?” Her voice is cracked, from emotions or pain she’s not sure. Maybe her throat is just dry.
“I can turn the lights down for you, but you’ve another two hours before meds are passed Mrs. Stansen,” the nurse replies as he quiets the monitors.
“Thank you Dear,” she murmurs, closing her eyes against the light of the room again. A few moments pass before the light behind her eyelids lessens and she falls into another memory.
Her own kids sit on the sidewalk with an entire tub of chalk poured out on the steps. Flowers and rainbows, swords and shields, if she had to guess – that one is a dog…maybe a cat. The true loves of her life. If only you could make them immortal I could love them forever.
Janice knows now that there is no immortal. Mortality, however, is what gives meaning to her memories. Don’t make me immortal so I can value every fleeting moment.
I am ageing
by Ben Connolly
I am ageing.
I am ageing.
I am ageing.
I am ageing.
Outside a fifth-storey window, soaked under the cold rain, Din waited. He was an old pro at waiting, but rarely in his long life had his heart beat so fast when no danger was near. Moreover, he wasn’t waiting for anything in particular; just himself.
Beyond the moisture-blurred glass, in a comfortable red chair, sat a young woman, plucking chocolates from a box Din had held just earlier that week. She wasn’t waiting for him. She and Din were scheduled to reunite only days from then. They were “steady,” one would say. Din would say only one of them was “steady.”
Din’s hand ran down his perennial face, wiping away excess nerves and water droplets. Ah, water. Always finding its level. Always flowing to its eventual resting place, where it will one day evaporate and return to the sky to be born anew. Din’s resting place, you could say, was flowing away from him. Stillness and Movement, for some God-forsaken reason, collaborated in Din’s creation, shaking hands in a paradoxical bond, to always be at odds and never be apart.
The woman continued to eat the chocolates. Din’s heart ached for her to know. His cold sorrow continued to fall from the sky. Should he tell her the truth? Should he flee under the cover of his tears? Would that he could share his burden with her, that they could exchange hands willingly with Stillness and Movement and ride a river of salt from both their eyes to the expanse of ocean beyond the horizon.
What a terrible, dark thought. She would never forgive him. It had to be the other way around.
In Din’s private writings existed just three words. How many times must a lie be told until the cosmos is convinced? Din would keep writing to find out, and when the answer revealed itself, he would fly above the rain clouds to his love, and pray only that he found her at rest in her cozy red chair, and not in an ocean of tears.
Would It Be So Bad? (Alchemy’s Kin Universe)
“A Philosopher’s Stone, huh?”
The auditorium slowly emptied as the other agents finished their mission debriefing, but Fleur Bellerose was, as usual, not among their numbers. Rather, she laid back in her chair, legs kicked up on the table, reading. Normally, she was the last to leave because she hated crowds, but today, a dossier from her commander was what kept her attention.
“Definitely lives up to the threat designation,” she read. “Source of all known enhanced abilities. Said to yield almost limitless power and grants immortality. No wonder the agency wants to neutralize these alchemists so badly.”
“Yeah, and then put the stupid rock in a vault somewhere.”
Fleur closed her document and looked up. A small Korean girl sat backwards in her chair a few rows ahead of her, head perched on folded arms, her brow furrowed. “I’m surprised you’re still here, Nabi. You’re usually the first one out.”
“Would have been if I wasn’t so…pissed off,” she huffed. “It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Fleur raised an eyebrow. She knew Nabi was rather stubborn. She was prone to speak her mind and question the logic of orders and missions often, but this time…felt different.
“I think you can cut them a little slack here,” Fleur said. “It’s the most powerful relic ever known. If it stays or falls into the wrong hands…”
“That’s all the more reason why it shouldn’t be locked up,” Nabi replied. “Think about it. Immortality? Unmatched power? Why not try and use that to our advantage, huh? We could protect this city, the world, from any threat forever.”
“I know, and I get that sounds really tempting, but…maybe that’s not such a good idea.”
Nabi scoffed as she picked up her bag. “Whatever. Doesn’t make any sense to me,” she said, storming out of the room.
In the silence that followed, Fleur began to wonder. She hadn’t given the idea much thought, but now that she was here, and with what was potentially at stake…she’d be lying if she said Nabi’s words didn’t warrant the slightest reconsideration.
Memory under a New Name (Forsaken Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
Nobody would remember the lost cadets of the Fugere. In a way, they were like the people of Ozymandias. Forgotten in the void of the universe.
To say that Jade was haunted by these thoughts would be an exaggeration. It occupied her technology-infused brain occasionally, but it didn’t distract her. At least that’s what she claimed.
“Do you think they left those monuments there to last forever?” Zuse, the ship’s AI, asked.
“What?” Jade distractedly turned the screwdriver.
“The dead of Ozymandias.”
“I’d prefer it, if you didn’t refer to them as the dead.”
“What other name do we know them by?”
She sighed and continued to work on the circuits. The cybrian wasn’t a mechanic, per se, but she could handle a screwdriver. And right now that was the best they had.
“Well?” Zuse asked.
“What does it matter? They’re dead.”
“I thought you objected to that moniker.”
“I’m not labelling them. I’m just… saying it like it is,” she looked at the security camera above her. “Why do you care, anyway? You’re the Fugere’s AI, not an archaeologist.”
“Just because I’m an AI, doesn’t mean I can’t have interests?”
“I didn’t mean that…” she wiped away the sweat from between her cybernetic implants. “I just didn’t know you had those.”
“So… what do you make of the monuments?”
“I don’t know. I just know what Rain and Newton told me. Maybe they were trying to make mementos of themselves… Not that it did them much good. It’s not like it saved them.”
“Perhaps not. Perhaps, in a way, it did.”
At this, Jade raised an eyebrow.
“They’re dead. You said so yourself.”
“Not their lives, but their memory, their remnants, their name…”
“But all that is gone. It doesn’t matter how many fancy monuments they build, no one knows who they were. They’re swallowed by the universe. Just like we are.”
“In a way, they still live on. As the dead of Ozymandias.”
Jade did not take comfort in that. She kept working, as one of the dead of the Fugere.
The True Price (Unlikely Heroes) [From Private]
C. M. Weller
A conquerer king dragged Wraithvine to his court in chains. There, the king in armour demanded, “You who are immortal, share your secret. Choose silence, and be executed.”
“Has his Majesty considered the paradox of threatening an immortal with death? I got my gift from the gods. They don’t like having those gifts destroyed, as I recall.”
“Then some years in my dungeon may change your mind.”
Wraithvine allowed the guards to drag hir away.
Once every year, the king would drag Wraithvine up and demanded the secret of immortality or go back to the oubliette. Wraithvine chose the oubliette.
Ten years, the king was still a blood-soaked conqueror. Twenty, he had found a wife and begun a family. Thirty, the new prince was gaining the hearts of the populace. Forty, and the king grew desperate.
“I need your secret,” said the king. “My hold on everything is slipping away. My son is easily lead astray by the voices of PEASANTS. I can’t let such a disaster unfold.”
Wraithvine said, “Do you really need it? Or merely want it?”
“Give it to me and I will let you have any reward you want. Name your price.”
Wraithvine said, “Abdicate.”
Ten more years, and the king was starting to grow weak. “Every weasel with an eye on my crown is coming after me. They all end up on the executioner’s block. Even my son has turned against me.”
“Nothing at all related to how you’re executing everyone who crosses you, I’m sure.”
“Tell me your secret or I execute my boy.”
“Step one: be at the beginning, when the gods walked the land. Step two: be pure enough to place your hand on a gods heart. Step three: make a vow and believe it. Step four: Watch everything you know change so much that it is foreign to you. You will be compelled to keep your oath. For. All. Time.”
He struggled to free his sword. “That’s useless!”
“Then let your son take the crown, or see everything you’ve made go to your enemies. I’ve seen it happen thousands of times.”
Immortality fit for a King
A great king clad in a golden robe summoned before himself three alchemists and said to them: “Make me a potion, so that after I will drink it, I shall never die.”
Two of the alchemists, foreigners not knowing the court were not fazed. But the third, the third knew of the king, and of his paranoia and cruelty, and he gulped in dread but not wanting to tarnish his reputation accepted the challenge.
They all were given a month to work, the two boisterous ones worked tirelessly, hisses of steam were heard behind closed doors. The third meanwhile, sat in dread, knowing full well that unless he finds a trick, his head shall roll as the king will not believe any of their concoctions.
Finally, a week before the deadline would come, the third alchemist had an idea, and he requested material, but when one might mystical elements, he had only requested, barrel of sour almond.
And finally, when the time came to present before the king, the first alchemist presented a special drink made from goat milk from high mountains, and the extract of a strange bean from a distant land. And the king laughed.
“I have a friend in Persia who drank this with milk of the common bovine, it grants as much immortality as I can grant you money! For trying to deceive me, your head shall be put on a spike!”
Before the guards took him, the second was made to present, and he presented oil mixed with whale blubber and a dog’s bile laced with alcohol. And the King laughed.
“Do you expect me to drink something that stinks so much, how come I know it isn’t poisonous! For trying to poison me, you shall hang!”
And before guards took them, the third presented an extract clear as water, and the king took it to mouth, and died. As the shocked court looked at the alchemist, he said: “I done what was requested! The dead can’t die and he never finished drinking, so there is no after!”
All in a Moment (Helsing: Vampire)
By Connor A.
(CW: Violence, Death)
Helsing’s hands shook as he wrapped them around the creature’s neck. His breath was shallow from the fight, and the searing pain from the creature’s attacks finally broke through the force that carried him through the struggle.
“Why…?” He managed in between breaths. “Why… did you…?”
Despite the long struggle, the creature smiled as if nothing happened. Before Helsing could register what was happening, it flipped over so Helsing was the one pinned to the ground.
“My,” it spoke with a familiar voice, though the look in its eyes was foreign to him, “you are far more resilient than I first thought.” It traced the collar of his stained shirt with a growing grin. “Perhaps it would be a waste to let you die.”
It bit through its tongue and pulled Helsing up by his hair. Though Helsing tried to tear himself out of its grasp, it held on and brought his mouth up to its own.
Helsing felt around for anything he could use as a weapon. His fingers brushed over something, and without looking to see what it was, he jammed it into the creature’s chest. When it let go and stumbled backwards, Helsing forced himself up to his feet and ran outside.
The cold air stung against his open wounds, but it was nothing compared to the new pain that took over his body. It was only when the beating of his heart stopped when he realized what was happening.
His senses began to dull as he collapsed to the ground. Even as his vision faded, all he could see in his mind’s eye was the sight of the creature, staring at him with the face of his wife while standing over his son…
Just when he thought he had his last breath, he was suddenly aware of his teeth becoming too large for his mouth and a burning sensation in his eyes.
Clash of Wills (Nowhereland Universe)
Left frozen in his office, Doctor Reuben Auclair stared at his old friend. Those words felt like a knife, but when he came to his blood could not help but boil.
“Non je ne le ferais pas.” Reuben gritted his teeth. “Am I clear? I will never do that.”
“What do you mean you will not?” Cassiel snapped back and grabbed the doctor’s wrist. “You are aware of what you’re doing? Giving your soul to those mortals?”
“If you do not like what I am doing, you can leave.”
“Like I’m going to let you get away with this so easily! There’s no way I’m letting you throw your life away!”
“Like I can throw an immoral life away. I am helping people, which is probably the only good thing I have done with my immortality.”
“And what if it kills you?”
“So far it has not.”
“And another thing! What if they become immorality?”
“None of them have as fair as I’m aware. Only Charolette has shown signs, but that is a special case. Beside I only split my soul, if a case is severe.”
“Why do you care with what I do with my soul?”
“Because I care about!” Agony echoed out in Casseil’s voice as they slammed their hand down on the desk. “And what about Oswald, or Charles? What about Selene, or Dottie? How would everyone react if something happened to you?”
“What if nothing happens?” Reuben’s voice soft.
“Who is to say something will?” Cassiel quivered and their body broke way to their own nervousness. “The truth is, I worry about you, Reuben. You have a habit of being reckless and not thinking things through. I am only asking you to be smart about this. Please, promise me you will be smart about this.”
“Je vous promets. I promise.” Reuben reeved a sigh.
The Reward She Deserved (Nyx’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
Lord Lectara wasn’t hiding anything anymore. That polite glamour of an elderly noble that he wore above was nowhere to be seen, and instead stood a visage of marble skin, long fangs and eyes burning like flaming coals in boiling blood.
“You have been doing good work for us, Miss Murnor. Yes, some good work indeed.” He strode towards her, a golden jewel-encrusted chalice hanging lazily in one hand. “I think it’s about time for your reward, isn’t it?”
Nyx almost gasped, her breath seizing up under his boiling gaze. She was terrified, she could admit that to herself now – but a thrill, a catharsis rushed through her body too. Because-
“Yes, I know EXACTLY what you desire.” An intense smile grew across his stony face. “You may have never said it, but I know what you want. For it is something that only one such as I can provide.”
Lord Lectara looked away for a moment, seeming to consider the chalice in his hand. “Knowing what you want is easy, Miss Murnor. But…I would like to know why. Why come to us, of all places? What is the hole inside of you that cannot be filled anywhere else?”
A small, painful pause. Then…
“It’s unfair.” (She hated how childlike she sounded.) “It’s unfair that my life, my years in this world, should be cut short by an imperfection of birth. Why can’t I live for as long as other gnomes can, just because of the stain of human essence in my blood? I lose centuries, CENTURIES, of potential life and experience, and for what?” She spat. “To be a little taller, a little thinner? To be ‘different’, or ‘special’? Worthless!”
She breathed heavily, trying to calm herself. “I just…I just want a life. A real life, a long life. A life where I have the time to do everything I want.” Nyx looks up to meet Lord Lectara’s eyes.
“Let me have this. Let me have that time. I don’t even need the immortality you possess, I just need more time. Will you provide that for me?”
I Once Had Strings, But Now I’m Free…
An apex predator is one who rests comfortably on top of the food chain. And as Alex looked upon the man threatening him with a bloody knife, the man instinctively learned that definition. Alex didn’t even need to demonstrate his power. The man could just feel that his life was in danger and fled.
Alex let him go. Men weren’t his preference. He was about to leave when he heard whimpering from the alley his knife wielding ‘friend’ had just come from. Intrigued, Alex followed the sound and found exactly what he was hoping for.
“Please… please help… I… don’t want to die…” The girl looked up to Alex with pleading eyes as she gasped her rapidly decreasing breaths. “…I don’t want to die…”
Alex knelt down to her level with a smile, and wiped the blood-stained hair from her face. “Death comes for us all, beautiful one. Why would she spare you?” While this wasn’t the normal way Alex hunted his prey, he still offered her a choice.
The girl reached a bloody hand to her savior and chose poorly. “Please… Help me…”
Alex’s smile widened. “As you wish, my stupid, little doll.” He infused the dying girl with his magic. She’d no longer age. The same wounds that almost killed her would become minor inconveniences. And she would forever be tied to his every whim.
The girl sat up, looking upon herself in awe. “Thank the Lord…”
Alex raised a curious eyebrow. “And why should HE get any thanks?”
Still bloody but no longer bleeding, she looked up at Alex with nothing but reverence. “Because He sent one of His angels to protect me.”
Alex threw back his head into a loud laugh that would have chilled the girl if only she’d known the truth. “How… deliciously ironic that you think me an angel of all things. You entertain me, young one. What is your name?”
“Pretty name.” Alex smiled. “Follow me.”
Before Sabrina could even ask where they were going, her body moved on its own like the marionette she’d unwittingly chosen to become.