“What do you mean we’re dying?”
“Exactly what it sounds like.”
“Nothing is immortal, you should know that by now.”
“And what would happen to us when the universe finally ends? When all the lights are snuffed out?”
“I don’t know, all I know is we’re supposed to live forever, forever! Not just a few hundred thousand years.”
“A few hundred thousand years? Do you know how childish you sound? We were given the gift of life and our lives have been a long one. I for one am happy with the things I’ve gotten done. I accept and welcome death as the start of a new adventure.”
“There is no new adventure! It’s all a big lie, you know that as well as anyone. I refuse. I’m not dying.”
“Unfortunately for you, you are. We all are. What part of that are you failing to understand? What ever this thing is it is killing us. One by one. Where do you think the others have gone? Hmm? Just popped out for a coffee? No, they’re dead! You saw the bodies like we all did. You know what is coming.”
“Something must be able to stop it.”
“No one recognises the thing, what ever it is. It is like nothing that has ever been seen before. It isn’t a virus, it isn’t a bacteria. Hell, it isn’t even alive.”
“Well, it came from somewhere.”
“You used to be so flippant about death. How many people have you killed? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Perhaps even millions.”
“They had short lives, they were going to die sooner or later anyway.”
“Yes, but you made sure it was sooner. They could have lived for years more, done great things, discovered new and wondrous information.”
“They were born to die, it is the only definite thing in their lives. We were the opposite. They were guaranteed to die, we were guaranteed to live.”
“Yes, but who told us that?”
“No one. We just knew it for the moment we were.”
“Yes, but could we not have been mistaken in our own arrogance?”
“No. We came into existence with that one simple truth. We cannot die. I cannot die.”
He turned and stormed from the room. The remaining people sat in silence for a few seconds. “What if he’s right? What if we could do something to stop it?”
“You’re all welcome to look, I will not stop you. I accept my death, I will not fight it, but I will not stop others from doing the same. My one decree is that if any of you find a way, you must offer it to the others. They are free to take it or refuse as they wish, but they must know if it. If anyone finds this cure and does not share it, then it will curse them. They will be struck deaf, blind and dumb until existence itself is erased.”
He stood from his chair and left the room. People started talking to one another in hushed tones. One by one they left until there was only one. She sat with her drink in front of her. She was tired. Tired of fighting, tired of living. She had never really given it much thought, it didn’t matter how she felt, looking at the eternity that stretch before and behind her. But now there was a choice. Not everyone was affected yet, she could go into hiding, like some of the others and pray she was spared, or she could welcome death. Sooner or later it would find her, it always did. Death was stronger than all of them combined, amassing its power over the millennia, across the galaxies. She drained her glass and stood from the table.
Outside the world continued on, the people in it had no idea that immortals walked amongst them, had no idea of the worry and turmoil that was rippling through the world. If the immortals could die, well, everything else was in question too. Things once thought unthinkable were becoming possibilities again. It had been a long time since the world had been like that. A place where things could make themselves how they wished. She didn’t miss that world, it was a harsh, chaotic place. But then, it always was, wasn’t it? That was the nature of life, chaos. There couldn’t be one without the other. Maybe it was right that they die, that they step aside and allow something else to take their place. Perhaps it was just the natural order of things. If they couldn’t save themselves from this thing, perhaps they had no right to live. She had enough of living, she had known countless people, had countless children and lovers. All gone, their bones turned to dust and the dust blown away on the winds.
She could feel the wind on her face, but the joy of it had disappeared over time, the sun on her skin no longer brought the feeling of warmth, just the feeling of emptiness. She missed the touch of another person, a real person. Someone who knew her for who she was. Maybe death was better, a fresh start, something new. If they were supposed to live forever, surely something of them would remain after death. Perhaps they would be reborn, or sent to a new place to start again, stripped of the bodies they currently had. The idea of death itself had becoming fascinating to her since she found out it as a possibility. Before it was just something that happened to others, something of no concern to her, but now she found she shared another trait with the human race, the curiosity of what would happen next. Sure she had read texts about it, and talked to philosophers about it, but the answer didn’t really matter. After all, she could never experience it for herself, so why should she care?
She stood on the bridge, feeling the breeze on her skin, the tang of the salt air on her lips. She climbed over the railing and, after a brief hesitation, dove off. The cold water hit her hard, pulling the air from her lungs. She dove deeper into the water, feeling the dark depths pulling her closer. She had known the oceans so well once, but that too was a long time ago. For now, she didn’t want to think, didn’t want to decide, she just wanted to disappear into the welcoming darkness.