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Prompted Writing

By aevitis All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Scifi

The Wrong Choice

A man is offered his choice of immortality, unlimited wealth, and true love. After living for thousands of years with his choice of immortality, he recognizes the terrible ramifications.

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The taste of tears lingers on my tongue as I caress her hair, shivering at the cool paleness of her skin. I’ve been through this so many times, but it never gets easier. I can still remember the first one - the first death, where I came to realize that I had made a mistake. That I should never have gone for immortality. That because I went for immortality, I could never live like all those I loved. They would die, and all I could do was cry and suffer.

Anger burned inside me then, leading me to do things I would later regret. How could I be to blame for my own choice when I had no idea of the repercussions; how was it my fault if I didn’t know that I would be making my life a living hell? When the angel came to me, it offered me my choice of three options: immortality, unlimited wealth, or true love. Back then, it was an easy choice. With immortality, unlimited wealth would be easy to obtain, and true love would come naturally with unlimited wealth - or so I thought.

With my first fifty years, I worked day and night to create a dominating business empire. I fell in love with countless women, and eventually settled down. Soon, however, people began to question how I had not aged in so much time. With my wealth, it was easy to make sure that anyone who dared suggest that I could be immortal found themselves in a coffin. Yet, as time passed, even I was unsettled by my unchanging appearance. My wife - my only true love - grew old and wrinkled, yet I stayed looking young and healthy, never a day past thirty-five. She was the only one who knew my secret, and when she died, I was devastated. Yet a hundred years later, I found myself repeating the same mistake - once again letting myself grow close to someone. And that meant another death that I could not bring myself to terms with. Again and again, I let myself fall in love; again and again, my heart broke, slowly transforming me into a monster.

Numerous times, I tried to end it all. Failure after failure forced me to accept that nothing could end my immortality except for what had started it - except for what I had no control over. Passionate hate burned inside me, leading me to commit countless crimes. I massacred, stole, and burned all in an attempt to make others feel as I felt - to make others feel the intense loss that I could never recover from. My empire of wealth crumbled as I became to be known as the most deadly man in the world. I was caught and sentenced to life in prison twice, but both times, the prisons themselves crumbled before me. I was sentenced to death repeatedly after that, but the bullets did no damage to me. I became a government secret, allowed to do as I pleased simply because nothing could stop me.

After one kill, as I was washing my blood-stained clothes, the tiny spark of compassion that remained yet in me flared up, and I began to feel guilt for my actions. I thought to plead for forgiveness to the loved ones of those I had killed, only to find that they had died centuries previously. I hated myself then as I had hated my victims before. Once again, I went on a suicide spree, and once again, I could only find failure. As time passed, I recovered. I came to discover new wonders in society, and to find all the changes in the world I had missed in the centuries since I became immortal. And once again, I began to form friendships and bonds, having forgotten the pain I had felt the last time I made the same mistake. Yet this time, when the generation that I had bonded began to pass, and I was forced to once again go through the same pains, I knew what I had to do.

I isolated myself from society, going to live in a small village far away. Over a century, I became the ‘village elder’ of sorts. I found myself recognizing happiness that I could not remember having felt before. And this time, when the bonds I formed had to break, I let them slide away. I never let myself get too close to anyone, yet staying happy through it all. Perhaps I could not have true love or unlimited wealth, but I could have joy in the ever changing world before me.

For the past three millenia, I have been living in the blessed village of Nagunak, four hundred miles from the nearest major civilization. In that time, I have never regretted my decision to come here. My name is Leo Ershwin, born 1990 in the long forgotten nation of America, and I may just be the happiest suffering man on the planet.


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