Immortal Love

I’m reading the Sandman series of graphic novels by Neil Gaiman. The series is mostly about “beings” who existed before humanity and will exist after humanity exits the Universal stage.  The Sandman is Dream. His brothers and sisters are Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delirium. They are immortal. Though they exist in their own “spaces” they do interact with other “beings” and humans.

Humans die.  Immortals don’t. That’s a problem.

Suppose you were immortal. Not an immortal like a member of a team or a club, not a vampire, or a zombie, or a God/Goddess, or an alien who could go into stasis every once in a while to freshen up their  wrinkles, or a superhero, or a demon, or a regular person with superpowers from being bitten by a mosquito cursed by an African witch doctor.  You are a regular person who at a certain age (you pick) was shunned by Death and Aging. You could not die by any means, including your own hand, someone else’s hand, or any hand associated with nature, fate, religion or the supernatural. You did not age.

And you fell in love. With a mortal.

Not just a regular – Oh this person’s hot and sexy I love you let’s have sex – kind of love. A deep soul cleansing, soul mate kind of love. Someone you could say, “I’ll love you forever,” to, and mean it.  Someone you would happily give your life to save, if you could.

It has to end,  you know it does.  At some point your loved one (spouse or whatever) will figure out that you’re not getting any older and they are. Awkward. How do you handle it?  You could tell them the truth, if you trust them. Loving them does not mean you trust them to keep their mouth shut, especially if they think you’re a creep.  Because even though you are just a regular law-abiding (except for the false IDs and offshore bank accounts) citizen with only that one little secret to hide,  doesn’t mean you want it blabbed about that you can’t die.

Especially if you’re concerned (which you should be) that the “Government” might (they will) find out. Law abiding citizen that you are,  if you’ve been alive any length of time you must have acquired a rather strong skepticism about what the “Government” might do to you if they get their military/scientific mitts on you. Think disappearing into a secret lab in the middle of the desert where they’ll poke and probe you, then, for purely scientific purposes of course, try to kill you to figure you out, then, because they’re scared of you, really try hard to kill you. Failing that, it’s an underground apartment in Area 51 on a very long lease. But, there are two silver linings.  1. If you’ve been clever enough to hide all your money gained over the decades/centuries in interest bearing accounts, you’ll be making money, man.  2. You’ll eventually outlive them. So there, Mr. Soldier Scientist.  BTW, by government I’m not talking about any particular administration (though if it’s Republican at the time you’re really screwed.) I’m talking about all flavors of “Government,” with a big G.

So back to your problem. What to do? Disappear before the question comes up? Disappear after the question comes up? Just go and leave him/her a nice nest egg to  help them get over you? If they love you as much as you love them, maybe they won’t ask and you don’t tell and you go along as if nothing weird is happening. Maybe on their death-bed you can explain? How many times would you have to have that conversation over the years before your tears didn’t get in the way?

On the dark side, there’s always a dark side, especially if your true love doesn’t reciprocate like you think they should, the bitch/bastard. The simplest expedient is murder. By accident, of course. You don’t want some hotshot detective (your love child?) looking into their murder, do you? If you can’t manage murder there’s always solitary confinement in a remodeled basement in a house in the country. Best make sure they’re secure, though. If they escape they could easily make it so you dearly wished you were dead. After all, just because you can’t die, doesn’t mean you can’t hurt. Besides heartbreak, that is.

IDEAS

See above– You have time.

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Know All, See All

I am now working on the sequel to my novel Blood Justice (which I know you’ve read and are therefore jonesing for the sequel.) As Justine, Simone and Teresa begin their search for Antonia they came upon some unexpected creatures called Oracles. Now Oracles look and act just like people. They are long lived, but not immortal (There are maybe 500 in the world.) As the name implies they can see the future, as well as the past. Some can only see a day or two ahead, maybe only a few hours. A few can see further, much further. All can see their own death, whether it’s coming tomorrow or in a couple hundred years.

Like Justine, I struggle with what my answer would be if one of those powerful, I’d hope it wasn’t a weak one, Oracles asked me if I wanted to know when I was going to die. For free-gratis, no obligation. If I wanted to know, they’d tell me, and walk on by. Decisions decisions.  What would you choose?

There’s upsides and downsides to knowing: Did I mention that they only see what WILL happen, such as your death? No A Christmas Carol sentimentality here. What they see,  an hour or a century ahead, CAN NOT BE CHANGED.

Upside –  You can plan your own funeral. Make sure you get the rousing send off you deserve. Or make sure you don’t get any sendoff.

You can plan for success. If you knew you had 35 years left, wouldn’t you live a bit differently than if next month you’re out. 35 years is plenty of time to start another career. Or that business, or family  you’ve been thinking about.  That’s plenty of time to start taking care of yourself so those last years will be good ones. The Oracles can’t give you the details of what happens just before or after you die. They might say, “You’ll die at 9:30 p.m. on June 23, 2028, but what your life was like leading up to that time they can’t, or won’t,  tell you.  So you’d better start taking care of yourself now.

On the other hand, more upside. If you’re time’s up next month, why bother, indulge, Baby. Eat, Drink and make Mary. You can easily plan to spend your last dollar a minute before you go. You can’t take it with you!

So much for yourself, (you selfish twit you) what about seeing what will happen to other people? Their deaths, births, successes, who they really married. You could make a fortune working for life insurance companies or…(see IDEAS below.) If you could focus on celebrities you’d be king or queen of the gossip set. A little side bet on the Oscar winners anyone?

If you were a good (non greedy) person like we all (well, most of us) are, or an especially  good friend, knowing when something bad was going to happen you could be there to ease the hurt. What would you do with a little real clairvoyance? Good or evil? Helpful or hurtful? Resist the temptation to do bad things, or give in, or give in and use the ill-gotten gains to do good.  St. Peter will buy that, don’t you think?

Who knew there so many upsides to knowing when the Reaper was coming to touch you with those long boney fingers?

IDEAS

What if you knew when the Grim reaper was coming and you set a trap? And you caught him. No more death! Everybody’s immortal. And unlike vampires (though there is some debate on this in the think tanks and the higher intellectual circles) everybody could breed as they do now. What would that do to the Earth? How long before it’s, “Stop the world I want to get off!” (Hasn’t that been done?) Put your own twist on it? Maybe you trapped the Reaper and sent him, or her, into space on a ship traveling an out-of-galaxy course.  That would get us into space. The Great Reaper Hunt. Maybe they could only send vampires? Of course then they’d have to send something for them to eat. Oh well, that might diminish the surplus population.  Though the Earth might be so crowded they’d have to have a lottery to choose who got to go as Vamp food. It might be worth it!

What if you worked for a Life Insurance company? If you knew when a person was going to die you could tell if they were a good risk. On the other hand, if you knew when a person was going to die, why not buy a life insurance policy on them? Wait a few months and bam, collect.  A million dollar policy a year and you’d be set. Unless some hot insurance investigator figured out what you were up to and bought a policy on you, and made you look ahead to your own death, at his hand.

 What if  you were say 30 years old and you knew with certainty that the earth would be destroyed on your 65th birthday? Unless, you sacrificed at the maximum, your life, or at minimum, you had to leave the planet and never return without even being able to say goodbye.   Nobody would ever know of your sacrifice. Which would you choose? How would your life so far affect your decision? What if you  had had a shitty life, unhappy, unappreciated, unloved with little prospect of it turning around? What if you were totally happy, successful, loved by one and all? What other things in your life would affect your decision?

What if you could see in the future some great calamity happening to the woman/man you loved from afar, though they were oblivious to you? You didn’t know if you could change that future.  Would you try? What sort of abuse would you take from him/her before you said the hell with it,  you didn’t care anymore?

If I had  consulted an Oracle and known how hard this topic would be I might not have taken it on. I’d love to see your story ideas for this topic.

The Universe Might Hate You

I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve been rewriting a previously published novel by changing one character to a vampire.  I’m assuming vamps will be around for a while longer.   Zombies are big these days,  but vampires are, after all, immortal. 

The character I’m changing became a vampire by accident, as far as she knows. And as far as I know. There may be a reason she was changed in the next book or two of the series:  A little light vengeance for ruining what would have been a gourmet family feast,  maybe a sly move in a complicated conspiracy to take over San Francisco, or maybe a more personal motive — the woman is hot and sexy, whether slaying demons or having a quiet beer, but would not be inclined to have warm and fuzzy feelings for a vicious, greedy, blood thirsty creature of the night, no matter how hot and sexy he or she might be . Or,  maybe it was only an accident.

She didn’t want to be a vampire.  Didn’t even know they existed until two minutes before she became one. She has nobody to teach her how to be a vamp —  a couple of friends who’d give up some blood for her, but have no knowledge of the undead except cliché’s  gleaned from  movies and a zillion vampire novels.  She cursed the Universe at her fate.  “Why me? Why not one of the 7 billion other people on the planet. Why screw with my life that maybe wasn’t so great, but at least it was mine and I could go to the grocery store at noon if I wanted, and though I’m not that big on the chamber of commerce brochure natural world (she has plenty of exposure to the  unnatural world)  I did like to sit on the dock on the bay on a sunny afternoon?”  (Change is hard, even when it’s good) The universe didn’t answer her perfectly logical question because the universe doesn’t care about her.

Though it’s not much solace, the universe isn’t  just indifferent to her, it doesn’t care about anybody.    Among billions  of galaxies and trillions of stars what  happens on a little rock in a mundane pin prick of space means nothing.  What’s it to the universe that she got made a vampire? Nothing. A seven billion to one chance that something will happen to somebody is pretty slim odds, but it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. In the greater universe that may be even odds.  She may hate the Universe for what happened to her, but the Universe doesn’t hate her, it just doesn’t care.  But should it?

IDEAS

What if, like that doomed tropical rainforest butterfly,  this woman being turned into a vampire does affect the well-being or life of the universe? Maybe she, not knowing what she’s doing, inadvertently turns a brilliant scientist into a vamp, as happened to her, and  that scientist uses his or her vamp abilities, such as stamina, speed, and not having to stop for lunch breaks, to invent a way for humans to gain the stars,  not just a few neighborly planets but the STARS. And we all know what will happen if humans  go into space. They’ll stick their noses in where they don’t belong, try to control all the real estate, even if somebody else owns it, fight, procreate, and leave a trail of litter from Earth to the Crab Nebula and beyond. Any one of those activities could trigger the premature end of the universe as we know it. Maybe the Universe should hate us?

What if the Universe is sentient? And in trouble? Maybe, like above, that scientist is turned because big U wants us out there. Wants us to populate and pollinate like a swarm of bees with too many Queens looking for a hive of their own. Unfortunately, maybe we turn out to be the Africanized version of bees and the Universe that loved us and helped us realizes we’re making a dangerous nuisance of ourselves and becomes afraid of us, making the jump to hate all too easy and has to break out that big smoke pot to put us all to sleep, permanently. Of course being human, some will survive. 

What if you had a Pollyanna point of view and thought there would be a happy ending to the above idea.  With odds of, by then, 100 billion to one, it could happen.

What if the Universe, in this case all the sentient beings in the space known as the Universe, hated you. Not humans in general, (that’s another story) but you.    Maybe you were conducting geological scientific experiments on the planet Honee, the home, and only, planet of the Honees, a well-respected religious Peoples with a calming influence throughout all space.  And the planet explodes. And you are the only survivor. And they blame you.  And peace in the Universe begins to break down as the Honee influence wans. And then all the civilizations, and governments and individuals hate you for what you’ve done. And want to kill you. What do you do? As the most hated person in known and unknown space, run and hide would be your first move. Then what? You are innocent, afterall. Continue to hide in fear untill one of a thousand assassins finally takes you out?  Or find out who is really to blame and why, then go out  and clear your name?

No matter what the universe feels about me, love, hate, indifference, I have to go and convince my character that the Universe doesn’t hate her. Though it might.