Vita sat in one of two large brown chairs in the living room, long legs curled beneath her. She wore black leggings and an oversized gray knit sweater. Her hair, a mass of dark, kinky, coils, fell into her face as she leaned forward, listing to the Others talk.
Kanil was reliving one of his many misadventures. He was a tall man with skin so dark it had always reminded her of a starless sky. He moved and spoke with the confidence of a man who knew his place in the world. Whether that confidence was real or a façade it was something Vita had come to admire in the man.
As he delivered the last line of his tale the other four people in the room burst into laughter and applause. Vita smiled. Kanil bowed to his left and to his right and the returned to his seat in the chair that was twin to Vita’s.
“Vita,” he said warmly. “No laughter from you?” his face painted with mock concern. “Have the years weighed on you so much?” He picked his glass of wine and brought it to his lips. “We would not want you become like Dolores.” His eyes flickered to a woman who looked to be in her sixties, sitting on the smaller of two couches He smiled smugly and sipped his wine.
Vita sighed “Perhaps, we are not all as enduring as you, my friend”
Dolores sat up very straight and shot Kanil an anger filled gaze, light blue eyes flashing. Her blonde-gray was pulled up into a tight bun, though wisps of her hair had begun to escape.
“You act as if this is all some sort of game,” She turned her steely gaze on Vita. “You all do, but then none has suffered as I…..”
“Give over, Dolores. We have all lost loves and children and friends. Save those that sit here tonight.” Assennato leaned against the doorway that led to the kitchen. He had a grandfatherly look to him. His close-cropped hair had been silvered since the Finding. Gray eyes that held contempt fell on Dolores, his brow wrinkled in frustration, causing the skin around the scar above his right eyebrow to pull in what looked to be a painful manner. “It is a gift as much as it is a curse, as much as a burden as it is a blessing. It is in the choosing”
“But I…..” Dolores began.
Assennato entered the room. “You have chosen to wallow in the sorrows” He took a seat across from Dolores. Gray eyes met blue and he held her gaze. “Even during the Finding, you found no joy. I often fear immortality is wasted on one such as you”
He sighed sadly.Dolores recoiled slightly from the comment, and Assennato’s gaze. Perhaps because of the truth that lay at the core of it. She was the last to come during the finding, sure that she had been cursed. Hoping that they knew of a way to end it, instead of reveling in the fact that she would no longer be alone. That she had found others like her, and a way to stop the Yearning that had plagued them all.
Giovane slammed his soda can on the glass coffee table. Vita flinched, she did wish he had a bit more respect for her things. It was the only reason she did not like hosting the Gathering.
“Immortality itself is a waste. We have no purpose. We do not know why or how we came to be. Life without purpose is pointless. No matter how long it last.”
Kanil snorted leaning back in his chair. “Purpose. You speak of purpose Giovane. The purpose of life is to be lived. We are immortal. We are what they have desired for millennia. We have watched their attempts to achieve it time and time again. He placed his elbows on the arms of his chair and steepled his fingers. “If we reveal ourselves to them these mortals, they would treat us as Gods”
Vita picked up the glass of wine that sat on the small table to her right and rolled it between her hands. “Would they?” she asked quietly
The Others turned to look at her. She stopped her glass. “Would they recognize us for what we are? Would they even believe?” She took a long drink.
Amada, who sat in the floor in front of Vita’s chair shook her hear. “They would not.” She looked at the others in the room. “We have all seen, and heard, and read what the mortals think it is to be immortal. Vita is right. They would be more likely to lock us away, labeling us insane, than to treat us a Gods.”
The room erupted in voices. Each with a reason why their opinion on immortality was more valid than any other. Vita sat there, not really listening. The same arguments had been presented for centuries now. What Amada said was true. Mortals looked at immortality as something of magic and legends. They thought it came with great powers and gifts. And knowledge, always they thought immortals held the secrets of the universe.
The reality for the six people that sat in Vita’s living room was a very different one. They had powers, after a fashion. They were gifted with the Vision of Time. They could return to things in the past, watching as if they were ghost, unable to interact with those they watched. And they could view the future, again as ghost, but it was an unreliable thing. The future was not yet written, they only saw shadows of what may be.
They could alter their appearance, but only to look younger or older. But they could not gift immortality to others, they had no super strength or speed, they even healed as mortals did. The only difference was, at times, the healed from things that would have killed mortals. Food and drink was needed for their survival, though they could survive on much less than was normally required. And when they could not find the sustenance they needed they went in the Great Sleep, a form of hibernation, as far as any of them had figured. Vita had always found it amusing that bears did a similar thing. They had all been through several cycles of the Great Sleep.
And the knowledge. They had no more understanding of the Universe than the mortals, perhaps they had less. Centuries of watching and they still did not know the how or why of the world, or themselves.
There was a sudden loud knock at door of the apartment that silenced the room.
Everyone looked toward Vita, it was her apartment after all. She shook her head. “I am not expecting anyone” she whispered, suddenly fearful, though she could not say why.
The knock came again and Assennato stood to answer it. Vita held out a hand “No, I will get it.”
She unfolded her legs and stood. Placing her empty wine glass on the coffee table she glanced around the room and walked slowly to the door. She pressed her body against the door and looked through the peephole. Through the fish-eye lens she saw a woman that shared her mahogany skin. She wore her hair straight and long, brushing her shoulders. She looked to be about 45 years old and was dressed in what Vita judged to be a rather expensive red business suit, with a skirt that stopped just above her knee. The woman raised her hand and knocked again. Vita jumped at the sound.
Taking a deep breath, she opened the door. “May I help you?” she hoped her voice sounded steadier than she felt.
The woman smiled. “Why yes, I am here for the Gathering.” She had an odd accent.
Vita looked at the woman with confusion she did not have to feign. How could this woman know of the Gathering. “Gathering?” she asked
“The Gathering of the Immortals. It is so good to have finally found you all. The Yearning has been unbearable.” She extended a slim hand. “I am Prima”
And then they were seven.