Standing here now, at the end of everything, I realised again that maybe being immortal wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. All those plays, movies, holographic shows and ads hyping it up like the best thing to ever happen to humankind – they were all wrong. There was nothing glorious about living past everyone else. No advantages to be had.
Especially today. Although the sunset sure was pretty.
I was President of the United States of America once, and President of the United World Alliance twice. I’d like to think that I did well each time, ending World War 3 the first time around and preventing the Galaxy War on my third run. Those times living longer than anyone else had paid off, and I had been proud to be human.
There were other times, too, when being immortal did seem like a gift. The birth of my great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter. Aliens visiting Earth for the first time, and brokering the Peace Treaty which bought us a new age of prosperity and technological advances we had only dreamed off. All those things had happened centuries after I should have died, but I had been allowed to witness them anyway.
But all the good days didn’t outweigh the bad ones. The truly horrific ones. Over the past millions of years I haven’t forgotten the death of my first husband, Michael, or the death of my second one, George. I’m still hurting for my wife, Aleesha, who died in child birth. For all those children and relatives I’ve had to bury. I’ve been to the edge of the universe hundreds of times in my life, and the pain never stopped once. With every new race I discovered, I wished Aleesha had been with me to see the miracle for herself. With every new car I bought I was reminded of George, and his love for every type of vehicle. Every time I ate chocolate ice cream I wished Michael could have been there with me.
I’ve led a long, long life, longer than any human should, and all I remembered now at the end of times was pain. The little things I used to enjoy but which only hurt now, because the people I used to enjoy them with could no longer share them with me.
Before me, the last existing star in the universe expanded. Any moment now it would explode, swallowing the last of the universe and then what would happen? If God was finally feeling merciful – and I doubted his existence after all this time – he’d let me go with it.
For all our advances in technology and medicine we never did figure out the secret to immortality. All those people who had paid a fortune, who were forced to throw themselves into unspeakable debt just to pay for the treatment, had all regretted it.
For all our advances and knowledge, I still didn’t know why I was immortal. It was the one thing I had wanted to know, and the one thing that had always eluded me.
Silence filled the remaining universe for a brief second, right before the star exploded and white hot pain seared through me. It wasn’t the first time I died, but I prayed to whatever else was left that it’d be the last.
All of my 10-Minute stories are improvised, unplanned, and unedited apart from spelling and grammar mistakes. The idea is to kick-start the dreaded Monday with a short, creative exercise without thinking about it, and simply writing for the sake of writing.
For all other 10-Minute shorts, take a look here.