Day 123 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about an immortal character or a character that has one day left to live.
Erin: “Want to do something,” Glen asked kicking my leg.
“No,” I gave him just enough time of day to blow him off.
“So, you are just going to sit and play video games then,” he accused.
“Why not? I have an eternity to do just that and will still have the lifespan of the earth to check off all of the things on everyone’s bucket list ever,” nothing really seemed special with the knowledge that I would see most everything more than once in a lifetime.
“Not with me,” Glen pointed out his own mortality.
“Your right,” I gave in putting down my controller. “What do you want to do?”
“Everything as soon as possible. I don’t know how long I get,” he reminded an I knew I shouldn’t be jealous of that fact.
Shannon: “You have to go. Please just go,” he put his hand on my back to lead me to the door. Before he could force me all the way I resisted.
Turning back to face him, I saw his face turned cold. “I don’t understand, did I say something? We were having a nice night. Why are you kicking me out,” I demanded an answer.
He was avoiding my eyes, “It’s me, ok? You didn’t do anything wrong,” he shook his head and attempted to direct me away again.
I didn’t budge, “So you need space for tonight, or how long?”
He shrugged, not saying anything and grabbed my hand, resorting to tugging me out the door.
“I’ll only leave if you tell me why I have to go, and if I actually believe you. Otherwise I’ll be back and I’ll keep bugging you until you tell me.”
“Then I’ll move,” he quickly argued.
“Then I’ll find you,” I bluffed.
“No you won’t. No one ever does,” he responded so seriously, I didn’t know what to say. By the look on his face, I could tell he’d let that one slip out accidentally.
“Who doesn’t find you,” I eventually broke the silence.
“Just go,” he pleaded.
I shook my head, “If you’re so sure I’m never going to find you again, why not just tell me?”
“It’s not safe,” he mumbled, meeting my gaze.
“I don’t have any proof that you even exist outside of our interactions, because you wanted it that way. Who would I tell? No one would believe me,” I hoped I was persuasive enough. “Come on you want to tell someone. Tell me and I’ll disappear forever,” I egged him on.
He closed his eyes, contemplating, and then opened them to look at me, still a little conflicted. “I’m immortal, and that’s why you have to go.”
That was not what I was expecting to hear. “I get it. You’re trying to play the crazy card. You want me to end it.”
He huffed and rolled his eyes before going to the door, “You got me.”
“Oh wow, you’re serious,” I suddenly didn’t need to question it. He nodded. “But immortal doesn’t mean you have to ditch me. I still don’t get it.”
He leaned against the wall, slowly pressing his head back. “I’m starting to have feelings for you,” he revealed, “I can’t do that. I can’t lose anybody else. I’ve had to watch everyone I ever cared about die, so I stopped finding people to care about years ago. I’m sorry. I know it’s not fair, but please go,” I barely spotted the tear sliding down his face.
I felt bad for making him say it out loud. “Could you try not to care,” I offered.
“I already was,” he lowered his head and opened the door.
How long does your character have?
As I’d continued to research the quiet rebellion that stirred beneath the cheerful faces and brightly-coloured costumes at the Pole, I was inundated by short descriptions of a wondrous tundra-dwelling woman who floated on the breeze and froze the water with her voice. No one would say her name, though one spelled it out with me muttering her name under my burnt-coffee breath, “Anemos.” After a quick search, using my editor’s assistant because, just as I’d figured, this stupid place didn’t have any internet access, I learned almost nothing about this woman. Something deep within me felt fuzzy and warm when I thought of this strange being of alleged-angelic beauty, though it could have just been my down jacket reflecting my own body heat back at me; truthfully, it was difficult to be certain of any feelings when it was so cold your eyeballs might freeze shut.
After round two speaking with some of the elves, I learned the only other fragment of information I would about this woman, before I actually met her in-person. I was shivering just inside the cramped doorway of the sugar shop (it’s literally a hole in the wall that sells candy in every flavour you can think of, including scrumptious maple candies that melt in your mouth when you’re indoors) as I waited in the short lineup to speak with the elderly proprietor. Somewhere along the way I’d heard about this gruff, scrappy fellow being one-with-nature and into all sorts of meditation and relaxations crap. Those days were long-gone, but one of my nearly-infinite sources claimed his mind was still sharp as a pin.
“Anemos, eh? Haven’t heard that name in what feels like forever. No one seemed to believe me when I came back home after getting lost out on the peaceful tundra when I was younger,” he rambled, sucking on a lemon candy and making those annoying, smacking noises every few seconds. Holding my tongue about his habit, I smiled hastily and cleared my throat while scribbling illegibly in an old-fashioned paper notebook. His eyes had glazed over and gently shut, but he spoke with a clarity that gave me a pang of jealousy, his voice weary with years of wear, “Yeah, she was a goddess among the feral winds and beasts on the open plains. I’d only heard children’s tales of her beforehand. She was an immortal being with so much grace that the other angelic beings grew resentful and she, in turn, grew colder and colder to their dislike. Eventually, she turned to ice.” A lone tear dripped down his wrinkled cheek, but he didn’t notice.
As I scribbled, I formed an emotionless question before toning it down a bit, “So, you were just a little kid lost in the middle of nowhere. Did you expect to see her?” I pried gently, keeping the excitement I felt at meeting an immortal being out of my tone; I didn’t want to be disrespectful or anything to this clearly-fragile man.
Chuckling in a baritone that fluttered a glass jar holding any number of coloured gumballs on the counter, he opened his eyes and the brilliantness behind them pierced through my calm façade in a heartbeat. “There is a tree off the North Wind Trail at the north end of the town that can show you the way; under the light of the aurora borealis, the path is revealed. But I must warn you, she has lived for millennia and does not take kindly to strangers. That’s why no one here has any real information to tell,” as he finished, a petite elf wrapped in an oversized green coat and enormous boots walked in and his trance-like state was shattered.
I nodded in thanks and retreated to the brisk afternoon road to contemplate his description and warning. Somehow, my story about an elf revolution was leading my down a potentially dangerous path, but I couldn’t just ignore an idea so spectacular as this. Rushing to the hotel, which was actually just a house that catered to the long-term vacationers and large family gatherings that happened in town, before I got frostbite, I muttered my plan under my smoking breath.
The sun set behind me in a sudden almost-audible whoosh, and I was left in the darkness beside an enormous, ancient tree which grew straight out of the ice like some kind of miracle. In my hand was a lantern that emitted both wavering, orange light and a faint warmth that kept the tingling of my fingers to a minimum. After a while, the lights began to shimmer above my head in a spectacular show of the power nature possessed and lent its luminescence to the tree before which I stood. Though my boots still kept my toes warm enough to move, I was frozen to the spot as a nonsensical pattern glowed within the bark with brilliant emerald and pulsing amethyst.
Suddenly, as though it was written in English, I understood what it was saying, and showing, to a tee. Nodding quickly to the tree itself, I wandered off through a break in the snowdrifts and started the long and arduous trek across the frozen tundra. Though I was in a type of trance, I was completely aware that my toes were frozen in my sweaty socks and the candle had gone out only a few minutes after I began. I considered leaving the lamp on my path to trace it on the way back, but some ancient knowledge urged me to keep a firm hold of all my belongings.
It was some time before I was acutely aware I was in control; instead of trudging along at a good pace on the lonely plain, I’d pulled up and was wavering as the frosty wind blew in my face. Glancing around, I found that my body ached horribly and every appendage was in varying degrees of frostbite. Though that concerned me, I decided there wasn’t anything to be done about it just yet since I was possibly hours away from the nearest heat source, so I just stood in the spot for a while and let the cold air freeze down my throat.
When I finally glanced up, I dropped the lantern and the glass frames shattered, the fragments immediately becoming invisible among the pale snowflakes. Hovering in the air above me was a feminine figure; though her form was fuzzy, I could feel her presence as once-nurturing and protective. She spoke in my mind like headphones that were far too loud, “You should not have made this difficult journey. I won’t give you whatever it is you seek, human.” When she spoke the last word, what I was, it came out as a derogatory sneer as though she wished to curse me with it.
Croaking when I attempted to speak, I coughed and politely informed her, “I don’t wish, Lady Anemos, for anything other than a tiny bit of your knowledge. I’ve heard only good things of how you saved a young man’s life and his experience with you helped him form a better life for himself,” I added for effect.
“Well,” she sang, a cloud of snow forming before her unmoving lips, “I suppose I could tell you want you wish to know.” There was a cold, sad expression on her too-brilliantly beautiful features that nearly broke my heart in two.
When I woke up the next morning in my cozy bed with the fire crackling merrily in the hearth and the pristine lantern sitting comfortably on the table at the other end of the room, I gasped in shock. I couldn’t remember how I’d made it back to the town, or how none of my fingers or toes showed any of the unmistakable signs of frostbite I’d seen last night. As I sat up and leaned against the hand-carved wooden headboard, I smiled at the memories the Lady Anemos had shared with me.
DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU’VE SEEN AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR!!!
…Or if you don’t care about spoilers.
Done? Okay, carry on.
“…Still no sign of the Avengers, but the threat has left New York as far as we know…”
The Novelty were visiting the farm, those still in school on a well deserved break, but during that time, news of New York came to them. Josh and August were planning to leave with their gear, but everyone knew by the time they got back, it would be over. Then… it was. And all they could do was wait.
Heather tries to stay calm, doing things away from the tv, so she wouldn’t worry about Steve and the others. She finishes all the chores conceivable, then wanders back in. “Still nothing?” She asks.
Nikki nods, staring at the screen. Heather starts to pace. Her siblings and mother are upstairs, only knowing the vague details that the others know. Though… it’s not much less than the rest.
“Are they still fighting?” Jacey asks.
Nikki and Rick shake their heads. “No one knows,” Rick answers.
Finn gets up and leaves the room, starting for the basement.
“If they were done fighting, we’d know it,” Jacey states. She looks to Heather, “Right?”
Heather nods, hesitantly, “Right.”
Then there’s a distant boom, like a shot being fired around the world. Everyone stops to listen. August looks outside. “There’s nothing out there.”
There’s a quiet that Heather doesn’t recognize; it’s as if everything stopped.
She has a thought that isn’t hers, but she still feels compelled to voice it, “Where’s Finn?”
“Down in the basement. I think he needed-”
Jacey starts to get up, but Rick beats her to it, “I’ll check.” He’s down the stairs.
Jacey starts breathe irrationally, “…Uhh…”
“What is it Jacey?” Nikki asks.
“Guys!” Rick yells. August is down the stairs after him.
“What is- Oh no…”
Heather kneels down in front of Jacey, “What’s wrong?”
Jacey looks at her, “I don’t… it feels…”
August is back upstairs, “Finn is gone. He isn’t downstairs, in his place-”
Leslie starts screaming upstairs. Heather makes a break for the stairs leading to the second floor. She goes into the room her family was in. Leslie is still screaming and Andrew is staring at the floor with a hand on his stomach. There’s a pile of ash on the carpet.
“Mom!” Leslie cries. Heather stares at the pile of ash again. She goes to Leslie and adverts her eyes.
“Leslie, calm down, breathe-”
“Heather…” Andrew gasps. Heather turns to look at him.
He’s clutching his stomach now. She goes over to him, cupping his face.
“Andy, stay with me,” Heather says. He hugs her.
“Heather… Heather help me-”
“Andy…” Heather sees her brother’s back start to turn to ash. “Don’t take him from me!” Heather screams.
Andrew disappears, covering Heather in ash. She stares ahead of her, tears refusing to come. Leslie’s screaming more. Heather wipes ash from her face and turns back to Leslie.
Heather moves back over to her, “Leslie, do you feel okay?”
Leslie is shaking.
“Leslie! Do you-”
“I… I don’t feel bad,” Leslie says, “I don’t feel like that.” Leslie looks at the carpet. “Mom… Mom said she felt weird. That she was…” Leslie starts to cry harder. Heather picks her up and carries her downstairs.
In Jacey’s chair, there’s a pile of ash. Heather brings Leslie into the living room and leaves her there. She goes back, “…Jacey?”
Nikki looks up, ash in her hands, “Gone.”
Heather looks at the others in the room, “Finn?”
Rick shakes his head.
“Is anyone else feeling weird?” Heather says sternly.
Josh coughs to himself. Everyone looks at him.
August feels the air knocked out of him, “No…”
Josh falls to his knees, his shoulder already disappearing. August is right next to him, as if he could hold his brother together.
“No no no… nonono, Josh, not you,” August pleads. Josh sounds like he’s choking as his head starts to turn to ash.
“…Take care of them, Gus…” Josh gasps. He then gives a wry laugh, “At least it wasn’t y-”
And he’s gone. August stares at the pile on the floor. Heather moves forward, squatting next to him. She takes his shoulders gently. “August,” she says, her voice breaking.
“He can’t be gone,” August whispers.
“August I need you. …We need you,” Heather says. She starts to pull him to stand. August then turns around and barrels into her. He wraps his arms around her and holds her close. Heather does the same thing.
“What… what just happened…?” Rick asks.
Heather stares over August’s shoulder, and tears finally trail down her cheeks. “…They lost,” Heather stammers, “…The Avengers lost.”