or wotever. On my favourite blogs some interesting philosophical viewpoints are exchanged. This being WordPress, exchanged in a seemly manner …
ONE OF THE ISSUES
touched obliquely on the topic of immortality. I was reminded of a short story I bombed out with in 2003, and after much rabbiting about in the deeper regions of my hard drive tonight eventually I found it.
AND HERE NOW, FOR JZ
and anyone who can be bothered (not many make it through to the end, I tells ya) it is. Read it and ponder—
He called me a vindictive witch just once too often.
Vindictive? No … possessed of a well-developed sense of justice, maybe, but hardly vindictive.
All I ever want from life is a fair shake of the dice. Cheats always make my stomach hurt. Seeing a rat like him pervert the system to fleece the innocent made me want to spit. Having him use the system against me was even worse.
The biggest mistake of my life was marrying him.
The second biggest mistake was expecting a fair deal in the divorce, he is a lawyer. Sure, I fought tooth and nail for my rights, and fell completely. There was nothing I could do — the final ruling wrapped me so tight I squeaked and left me with nothing. I had to go to him, cap-in-hand, and beg. It’s hard to be vindictive when you’re humble.
Vindictive? No, definitely no.
I’m a witch.
Not your traditional ‘black cat and broomstick’ witch, more your 20th century witch—high tech and hold the eye of newt.
I do have a cat, though. She is my beloved familiar and has been with me since I was a little girl; she is my family, my darling, and now my whole world.
As far as witches go I am successful despite the choice of husband (even witches can be blind sometimes.)
He knew, of course — the slimeball knew I was a witch, right from our wedding night. Some things had to be explained, and of course he wanted proof.
Well, one thing led to another, and his wealth multiplied as a result. Not that I minded. What witch wouldn’t want to be married to a highly successful lawyer, top of his field?
But as time went by his demands grew, and grew, taking over until he was utterly obsessed by his own ambitions. The more he prospered by my efforts the more I saw what he really was, and the more I grew to despise him.
But there was one thing I always denied him, one thing he coveted above all else. There was this one thing he craved, for which he pleaded, threatened, bullied and begged. This I would never grant, no matter how much he groveled or blustered. Sure, it was within my power, and his desperate efforts to force it became the final nails in our marital coffin.
So, just as he’d planned, I went to him on my knees, begging.
He was munificence itself. Sure, I could have access to the house. Sure, I could take my things away—my Book of Shadows, my waxes, my herbs, my robes and iron dagger. Sure, I could even have the house itself, if I wanted. I could have the house and pool, the garages and buildings, the trees and gardens, the stables and fields and woods and beach. Sure, I could have the cars and bank accounts and investments, he would relinquish all claims to everything … if only … if only I would make him immortal.
Of course I said no.
So he called me a vindictive witch.
Vindictive I have never been. But I, too, have a limit, and can be pushed just so far. He pushed me too far with those words on top of everything else.
So I gave him what he wanted.
He was over the moon with my decision. Overcome with emotion, tears streaming down his face, blabbering with gratitude — gave me everything. Lock, stock, barrel and bolt.
Sure, it cleaned him out. But he knew, and I knew, that even if it took a lifetime he would recoup his losses. In three lifetimes he could be the richest man in the world. In four lifetimes he might be ruling the world. We both knew that.
He’d thought that by withholding immortality I was being vindictive. But vindictive didn’t come into it — not until he pushed me a little bit too far. Vindictive only began once I’d given him what he wanted.
He wanted immortality, “the same as you witches”.
Immortal? I’m not immortal. No witch is immortal. Sure, we could be, we can choose to live for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years, but no witch would ever be immortal. Given the choice of immortality or instant death, every witch in the world would opt for death at once, without hesitation.
Immortality, that ancient dream of mankind—and this oaf thought I’d withheld it from spite! Hell, I wouldn’t wish that dream on my worst enemy. Not even on him. Not until he threatened to let my cat starve slowly to death, locked in his house … and then I saw red.
So I granted his wish.
Certainly, he will prosper.
He is too clever to fall in love.
He will enjoy thousands of years of affairs and adventures, but will never be fool enough to love. In a hundred years, lonely or otherwise, he will be one of the wealthiest men on earth. His personal accounts will rival those of sovereign nations; and centuries of endless success and adulation will never tire him.
He will be enjoying the fruits of my labours aeons after I am gratefully dust myself. Millennia after I have shuffled off this mortal coil he will be drinking the finest wines and sleeping with the cream of the world’s women. Long after my atoms have dispersed on the winds of time and change he will be fearlessly conquering anything anyone can throw at him. And why not?
He is immortal.
As part of the package I made him invulnerable as well. Nothing in the universe can harm him. He stands at the very peak of development, too, physical and mental. His brain is razor sharp, perceptive, brilliant; and he is the perfect specimen of manhood. He has it all.
He won’t begin to see the cracks until several million years have passed. By then he won’t even remember my name, but my atoms will be laughing, laughing, laughing.
Laughing as the sun slows down, expanding as it cools. Laughing as our friendly little star becomes a swollen red giant, drying up the waters of this planet, killing off all life.
All life-forms, that is, except one.
The surviving perfect specimen of Homo Sapiens will be able to reach out his lonely arm from the seared surface of our planet and touch the face of the sun itself, so obscenely large will it have grown as it dies.
His agonies will last for billions of years more, then billions of aeons, until in about three trillion trillion years the universe collapses inwards upon itself in a reversal of the Big Bang from whence it sprang.
Eventually it will collapse into a singularity, a dimensionless point of infinite mass. Somewhere in that nowhere will be a demented yet perfectly formed human being, alone and endlessly screaming in the midst of an eternal non-existence.
Vindictive witch, he’d called me.
But vindictive … … ?
— END —
—or not. Your call …