Who Wants to Live Forever?

Who Wants to Live Forever?

A Story by GrandDystopia
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A story about life, particularly ending one's life.

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Randal Monroe had grown increasingly tired with the thing that we call life and decided to unceremoniously off himself. Randal Monroe was not his real name of course, he had had many names over the course of his life, a necessity for anybody that is as old he was but as he stood at the edge of the rooftop of his apartment building he tried desperately to forget all of the long years that he was forced to suffer. This might work he thought, as the old saying goes, visualize something enough and it may happen. Of course all that he could visualize at the time was his body splattered down on the sidewalk like children’s play dough, standing at the edge he felt euphoric, he was incredibly convinced that what he was about to would work. It was not the first time he had attempt to flip the off switch of his soul but he did not like to mention those past attempts because after all negative thinking gets you nowhere in life.

            Randal teetered on the edge, getting used to the idea of hitting the hard concrete beneath, he cared little for the people who would see his body burst like a water balloon, not that there a lot of people around to begin with at three in the morning. Randal didn’t sleep anymore, he had no need to and this was another thought that brought him one step closer and then closer again.

            “F**k it.” He said.

            Then he did it, he threw himself off of the roof and into the night sky. The air was cool as he fell through it as the euphoric feeling inside him escalated; he forced out the memories of his long life out of his mind and just focused on his imminent death. This might actually work he thought as he plummeted further towards the ground not noticing that he had thrown himself in the direction of an of his old, blue hatchback. He hit the car like a speeding bullet, the metal of the roof bent around his body, the windows shattered as if they were hit with the world’s toughest baseball bat. The sound of the impact echoed throughout the street and then it dies down slowly. Randal lay there for a moment, wishing, hoping that his newest attempt worked a charm but he was filled with a sense of worry it didn’t f*****g work. He sat up screaming in fury into the ink black sky of the night, he felt anguish at the fact that he would be forced to continue living his miserable existence, an existence where time stood still.

            Randal Monroe was an anomaly. He was born Jefferson Monroe Callahan on the date of June the 2nd 1912, it didn’t take very long to realize that he was special. Nothing seemed to be able to harm him, no scars marked his body no matter how many bad scrapes he found himself in and when he was of age he joined the military, fighting in the pacific theatre of world war two. He was the only man from his unit to make it back from the battle of Okinawa, at the time he merely felt lucky, during the battle he fought like the devil taking many Japanese soldiers to the abyss. He was taken prisoner after the fight and every attempt at torture completely baffled his tormenters as Corporal Callahan seemed to be unable to feel pain of any sort. His skin unbreakable, his bones as hard as steel. Eventually his Japanese captors got sick of him and let him go back to his commanders who were equally confused by the lack of wounds left on his body, he was completely clean, not even a bruise. Jefferson Callahan was then given an honourable discharge and was allowed to go home to his wife Alicia and their quiet home in Portland, Maine. He did not question his good fortune, he just saw himself as a lucky guy who was merely born different but that would all soon change with the terrifying realization that no matter how old Alicia started to look, he would never look any older than thirty. Alicia Watson Callahan would pass away from cancer of the breast at the ripe age of fifty eight, Jefferson was distraught and also wary of the looks he would get in the street. It was a sensitive time, communism was on the rise, fear and paranoia at its very height and Jefferson had no other choice but to leave the only home he had ever known. Depressed and weighing up his options he changed his name to Harry Jefferson and moved to Chicago, the Vietnam War was raging like an out of control fire  and the man now named Harry saw a way out. He joined the army for the second time at the age of fifty eight and was shipped out to Da Nang where he tried everything possible to end his life, every booby trap he would trip, every firefight he would avoid cover like the plague but still nothing would kill him.

            “You’re like our very own Superman Jefferson, god f*****g bless you!” His commanding officer once told him but Harry Jefferson did not want to be Superman, he wanted to be a dead man.

            Yet again he returned from another war unscathed, the only solace that he found was in the company of Maria Masters, a nurse that worked at the base he was stationed at. They would walk all day and night when they had the chance and fell in love quickly they returned home together, no hero’s welcome, no victory. They married a year later but once again fate dealt Harry a bad hand, and the hand was cancer yet again. After that he drifted, staying off the grid. No real name, no phone, no address. Working every job he could take, avoiding people and relationships for the next few decades. Feeling sick and tired of being unable to age, feel pain, he discovered he didn’t need to eat or sleep, his body merely sustained itself. He didn’t feel like a man anymore, more like the robots he would read about in the works of Asimov or Clarke. Just a hollow shell, someone who’s existence isn’t even justified. He felt like he had no purpose or reason, he was just kind of there. He even went to see Highlander on opening night in 1986 and felt for Connor McLeod’s plight, that feeling of never being able to get attached to anybody, no matter how much you loved them. Though if only life was exciting as that he thought.

            He never liked to use the word Immortal, to him that was a glamorous word, something that sounded enticing. But that was not the truth, to the man didn’t even remember his real name immortality was evil, he felt cursed and wondered what his ancestors had done to piss off god for them to allow himself to be born unable to feel pain, hunger or tiredness, to be unaffected by age or disease. For many years he drifted until he came to New York, become Randal Monroe and decided to try as hard as he could to end it all. The rooftop jump was not the first attempt that Randal had tried, after remembering Highlander he became utterly convinced that if he did in fact lose his head that all would be ended for him but no matter how many time or ways he tried there was no way to break his skin. He had lost count of the amount of razor blades he had broken trying to cut his wrists and throat, the amount of cars he crashed without wearing a seatbelt. He even tried drowning himself in the Hudson River once but discovered to his own undelightful surprise that he could breathe underwater.

            After the rooftop jump, Randal returned to his apartment the way he always did. He was depressed and his clothes were ruined by the fall, not to mention that he would have to right off his car which depressed him further but at least he could claim on the insurance. No officer, there was no way I threw myself onto my car. Do you think we’d be having this conversation if I did? That thought calmed him down a notch but it did not change the fact that we was still alive and still miserable. He collapsed onto his bed and then quickly realized that once again, sleep was pointless, he would be awake until the end of the earth came. S**t, even if that happens I’ll still be here, can’t win.  He got up out of bed and eyed the old colt six shooter that lay on the bedside table and then shook his head morosely, No use trying that again he thought.

            He paced his apartment for the next few hours, thinking furiously of how to end it. He stared out of his window into the New York skyline and was shocked by what he saw next. On the roof of the building opposite he saw a women, she was beautiful. Red hair, jade green eyes, she took Randal’s breath away like a punch to the stomach, a hard punch to the stomach. Even from the distance he could tell that the woman had been crying, she was one step away from the edge and seemed ready to go but then something came over Randal, a thought he never thought he would think. All this time I’ve been bitching about not being able to die, I’ve forgotten that other people have worse problems than me. And they can die. Randal rushed out of his building to the rooftop opposite, the run barely making him lose his breath due to Randal being in permanently peak physical condition and saw the woman on the edge. She was talking to herself quietly, trying to convince herself that this was the right course of action.

            “Wait!” Said Randal.

            This almost startled the woman off the edge; she jumped in surprise but managed to retain her footing and looked back at Randal even better up close he thought.

            “Don’t come any closer, I mean it.” She said.

            Randal put up his hands defensively, he had been in this position before and didn’t really know what it was like to be on the receiving end. He had people trying to talk him down before but it never worked, suicidal people know how to get mean it seems.

            “I know you do.” He said, his voice trembling. “But trust me this is not the answer.” Is this really me saying this? He thought.

            “Not the f*****g answer? Like you’d understand, you don’t know what it’s like to have time pass you by, to have everybody you know and love die around you as if they mean nothing.”

            “Trust me when I say I know better than you think, I’ve been in your position myself you know, more times than I could care to count.”

            She smiled slightly and seemed glad to be in the presence of somebody who did understand or at least thought they did.

            “It’s not the first time I’ve tried this, it never works. I can’t seem to die.”

            “Really?” Said Randal, he had never heard anybody else say this before. A thought crossed his mind but he didn’t want to believe it, it was not possible. He needed to test her; he brought his old switchblade from inside his jacket pocket. Randal would argue that living for more than one hundred years had made him a little paranoid despite his unique ability of staring down death at every turn and making him blink. The woman looked a little worried about the blade but said nothing and allowed Randal to continue. “That’s the strangest thing because…” Randal dug the blade hard into his left arm but the blade merely folded as if it was made of tin foil. “I can’t seem to die either.”

            I look of elation came across the woman’s face, she laughed and cried in joy as all of her questions seemed to be answered in one flash of a blade.

            “My god, you’re one to?” She said.

            Randal nodded and took a step forward, his questions also seemed to be answered in a New York minute, he looked at the woman with wonder and adoration and took a small step forward.

            “Randal Monroe, born Jefferson Callahan in the year 1912.” He said with a slight wave.

            The woman laughed and waved back.

            “Claire Waters, born Claudia Wiseman in the year 1960.”

            Claire took a step down toward Randal and took her hand in his; she looked at him bashfully as he stared into her eyes.

            “Nice to meet you.” He said.

            “Ditto.”

            And so began the rest if their lives, Randal had forgotten what love felt like. He had forgotten what it was like to spend time with another person but Claire was not just another person, she was like him and she would not be going anywhere. Both of them were so caught up in the feeling of misery that they had both lost sight of what life was truly all about and that was making the best out of what you got. Time moved forward quicker for them now, days turned into months and then the months turned into years. 2014 soon become 2024; technology moved quicker, civilization more adept at coping with each other. War disappeared, religion no longer a dominant force. People of all races came together to celebrate being human, borders vanished, poverty wiped out, all major illnesses cured. Humanity reached further into the stars than they ever did before, planets were colonized and humanity saw its golden age, an age of wonder and enlightenment. Randal and Claire however, never left earth, they felt connected to it in some way as ten years quickly become one hundred and then one thousand and that was when things started to change for them both, in many ways for the better, they were dying.

            The sun was getting to big, said all the scientists and analysts and the earth could not cope no longer. Neither could to the two people who never thought death would of any worry to them. They both stared out into the stars, the newly placed solar shields hiding them from the worst of the suns ways as the first ever signs of aging both of them had seen in almost a lifetime began to set in. They were old and becoming more and more human every day. Randal held onto to Claire as tight as he could as they saw the sun expand further, coming closer to consuming the very planet that it gave life to.

            “I think I’m dying.” Said Claire.

            “I’m dying to, imagine that.” Said Randal with a smile.

            Everything broke down; people evacuated the planet as the earth’s doom came ever closer, buildings burned, people died but Randal and Claire Monroe still lived if only just. They were connected you see, connected to the earth in a spiritual bond. As long as the earth still breathed and carried on living, so would they but now it was all coming to an end. The sun was now on the planet’s doorstep, the crust ruptured and tore apart, the temperature unbearable but Randal and Claire stayed. They wanted to see the final moments, held in each other’s arms. They did not cry, did not lament, they were together and that was all that mattered. They had a good run, the two of them. They had gotten to see the earth and it’s people at both its highest and lowest and neither would have changed it for the world.

            “Who wants to live forever anyway?” Whispered Randal as the earth finally gave up, consumed by the biggest star.

            Something’s burn, others die but there are many things out there that truly last forever, you just have to keep a sharp eye out for them.

 

© 2014 GrandDystopia


Author's Note

GrandDystopia
Another first draft, had a lot of fun writing this but any constructive feedback is always welcome.

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Reviews

This is so interesting and different! Even for a short story, I got attached to the characters super quick. Towards the end, it was like a movie playing in my head.. with a somber orchestra, lens flares, and of course a silhouette of the two lovers becoming one and turning into stardust. Anyways, the characters sounded like real people (which hopefully never happens to any real person, because damn, that would honestly really suck!), and the description of their future and their ending was very well-written. Also, I like the reasoning as to why they were the way they were, being connected to the earth. The last line got to me! Very wonderful job, friend. (:

Posted 6 Years Ago


This is very well written... and it captivates the imagination as it is read. You were very careful in your approach here, and though I see life differently... I liked it for the intrinsic value expressed and style used. A very good job on this!

Posted 6 Years Ago


GrandDystopia

6 Years Ago

Thank you very much my friend.

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Added on July 4, 2014
Last Updated on July 4, 2014

Author

GrandDystopia
GrandDystopia

United Kingdom



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Well doesn't this place look weird... Hello there! Dystopia is my name and being a slow and unproductive writer is my game. I am an old relic from long before many of you were probably using this sit.. more..

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