I feel the thud of my feet against the wet grass. My breathing aligns with the nocturnal insects welcoming the night. I’m running from — or to something. I’m unsure of how far or where. I remember… It’s Monday Every Monday I take inventory. There are thousands of years to unpack, hundreds of lives lived. One minute and thirty eight seconds to ponder immortality.
We were gods among men, worshiped and corrupted by our own power. Our purpose was to rule — to sustain power with a benevolent force of justice and equity. We succumbed to our carnal nature with our integrity fading in time like those stone idols carved in our image.
One minute and twelve seconds to reminisce. We were drunk with power; forgetting the compassion that makes us human. We were hedonist in a world of asceticism. For us, this life was the only thing to live for. The mortal priests taught that suffering and sacrifice opens a new plane of enlightenment. Death was only a transition to a better world. A world without immortals. Twenty three seconds to ponder mortality.
They revolted. We fled to the far corners of the Globe until they found us all. We were mocked, ridiculed and tortured; until they found a better way. They learned to dispose of us with an implant wired through our skulls remotely detonated. An immortal is chosen at 7:35pm each Monday as per the “Great Culling.” We are killed, ensuring mankind’s survival and our demise. I live each week knowing it may be my last. No one knows when their number will be chosen. I live with the present hope that my sacrifice will not be in vain. To live in the present is to be immortal. I know death awaits in the future; but as the sweat beads on the base of my neck in the hot night air I count my breaths.
The clock counts, but I live outside of its gears and wires. I’ve experienced love, sorrow, and more loss than any mortal could imagine. Impatience, desperation, and fear are for those anticipating an uncertain future. I run in the present, each foot placed perfectly in rhythm to the world around me. Behind me is a world of fallen gods; filled with wounds of a tortured past, lost lovers and a mountain of guilt. I run from the cresting waters of bloodshed from each kingdom I once ruled.
Each Monday, I run from the fear of death that lay wait in the future by residing in the present. Time heals all wounds.
I feel the pulse of the implant activated at base of my skull. The warmth crawls up towards the crown of my head. Its tentacles spread across my brain enveloping the seat of my mind. My rapid heart-beat sets the pace of my feet. I’ve thought of this moment for hundreds of years. It was pure speculation until the first of us were chosen. They were snuffed out at the dinner table in front of friends and family. They died alone, imprisoned and tortured for crimes against mortals. I knew that I wanted to die alone, under the gaze of a million stars. Their radiant light shining through time and space to be known, to be remembered.
I’ll leave this world under the brilliance of the Universe in all of its grandeur. Perhaps in some distant future my life will shine through the darkness of mortal men who’ve chosen to quench my light. I steel myself to the flooding emotions as I feel the loss of people, places, and lovers all at once.I choke on the tears of the missing names and faces in the memories of the past. They become silhouettes in the shadows of my poisoned mind.
I can feel the coolness of the air blowing against my cheek. My head grows numb as the toxins seep deep into each fissure of my brain. I notice the reflection of the forest in the still creek beside me. It’s slowed to a placid trickle undetectable in the moonlight. My mind slows just the same. Memories fade into dark still waters, leaving only the reflection of this present moment.
Those waters grow deeper as I falter, regaining my balance against a tree. I cling to it, my final embrace to this world. A world who gives freely to mankind despite our desires to control. A dark haze of memories emerge from the depths of my mind only to be drowned back into the muddy waters. I feel the permanence of death as my reality ebbs away unaware of the collection of cigarette butts and beer cans a few feet behind me. I lay vulnerable to the shadowy men watching me cling to the tree. Leaving me prey to their cruel desires to exact revenge on a “drunken” immortal.
The first blow split my skull. A rush of blood and toxins spewed from within. I felt the sudden release from the throes of death and then only darkness. The next morning I awoke to the faint breeze off the creek beside me. The shore was awash with a witches brew of neurotoxin mingled with my own blood.
Bloody footprints revealed a devil’s dance as men dragged and mutilated my body across the shoreline. A collection of jagged boulders painted brown with my own blood gave shade to a small collection of shotgun shells. My would be corpse became target practice to exorcise their own demons.
I attempted to sit up groaning as the newly formed sinews stretched for their first time, propping myself against a rock. I scraped my fingertips against the stone removing the caked blood and dirt in preparation for surgery. I reached towards the back of my head to feel a seam of wet flesh repairing the oozing hole that remained. Straightening my middle and forefinger, I reached deep into the crevice nearly fainting at the wet pulpy sounds while probing each brain fold in search of the implant. I gripped it tight, pulling with all my remaining strength. The blinding pain subsided as I regained my composure. The once still creek under the guise of the moon is now flowing swift and full of life. I toss the implant into those lively waters it’s long narrow tubes seemed to crawl away down the creek bed.
My mind is free from the guilt of the past as a new future awaits me. The sun shines bright above unashamed of it’s glory; reaching into time and space to reveal it’s brilliance through the darkness of the Universe. The hatred of mortal men created a system to inflict a constant fear of death. It stripped all purpose from my life. That same hatred taught me how to live in the present moment. That hatred also gave me new life as their blows released toxins trapped inside my skull. I now realize that they never learned how to kill us.
They could only quiet our minds into a state of extended slumber in the hopes they would find a final solution. We were never meant to pass into the afterlife. Immortals were made for this World alone. I’ll no longer live with the fear of death. I won’t succumb to the darkness that pervades their lives. The mortal’s undying hatred provided the knowledge to revive the Chosen. I will awaken every sleeping immortal to let them rise like ghosts from a tortured past.
We will be reborn casting off our old identities, taking on the veil of mortal men. Nations will fall and others will rise. Our statues will crumble through the ages. Our stories will be told as folklore and in time we will be forgotten. When we become a tragic footnote to history we will watch as the World burns under the hubris and corruption of the mortals. We will witness their fall and rebuild our kingdom from the ashes. When we return to power we will collect on the debts due for all mortal men.
In the meantime, we will wait. We will wait and dream of the glories to come. Time will be our weapon of survival. Time will deliver the victory.
Time will bring mortal men to heel.