Wednesday, December 14, 2016

[Short Story] Record Holders

[WP] Anyone holding a world record is immortal as long as he holds the record. You are the oldest person alive.

"Impossible..." the man's eyes stared at me wildly, his two hands still on the blade plunged deep within my heart. After eons of living, my body had become so accustomed to pain that even an explosion to the face feels like nothing but a tight slap.

"Surprised?" I asked coldly, before removing my hand from my pockets. A loud bang echoed against the walls, followed by a thud on the floor. The man groaned loudly in pain from the bullet I had put through his chest.

A shot like that would have killed any normal person. However, just like me, he was immortal. A record holder.

"Arghhh.... fuck, fuck, fuck...." he cursed under his breath, both his hands on his chest. While immortals can’t die, they can clearly feel pain. This man was clearly not used to it. And immortals can definitely be taken out, even for a brief moment, if you know what to do.

I pointed my gun at his head. A few more few more shots rang out and the man laid there, motionless. Trauma to the head, either through the use of guns or a stab with a sharp object is usually more than an effective way to knock out an immortal, especially a novice like the man before me. It was a fact that is not well known though, as it would be used against the population of immortals.

Which was why I was here, in the supposed lair of the “Heart Stealer”. A good name, if not for the disgusting acts that he had done.

I raised my hand in the air, indicating that things were under control, and several armoured officers from behind covers. They immediately cuffed the man before dragging him away.

As I watched the men disappear, the commanding officer walked over to me, his hand offering me a cigarette. He was a sergeant in his late thirties, and from my guess, not an immortal. "It’s sick, isn’t it? The record that he was pursuing."

I lit up a cigarette and took a few puff from it, my eyes fixed on the puddle of blood on the floor. Heart Stealer. Named because he kills his victims with a stab to the heart. He would first lure the victims, normally homeless people or prostitutes, bringing them to a secluded area, before plunging a knife to their heart. Just like he did to me. All in the name of a record. All because he wanted to achieve immortality. I was supposed to be his 104th victim, the next entry in his record, but he had not counted on me being an immortal just like him.

The sergeant's eyes then shifted to the blade still lodged on my chest. "Are you not going to remove that?"

I looked at my chest, the blade still lodge there, my shirt now soaked in blood. "Sorry, sometimes I tend to forget that," I said as I calmly pulled the knife out. I still remember the first time I was stabbed, which also happened to be when I realized that I was immortal. The pain was unbearable, like my whole body was on fire. All of my senses were overwhelmed, and my mind could not focus on anything else but the pain.

But that was eons ago. Like I said, my body had grown so accustomed to pain that they are no more than mild annoyances to me.

The sergeant tapped on my shoulder, before pointing to the waiting police cruiser at the side of the road. "Anyway, thanks again for agreeing to help with this case. I'll need to head back to HQ to process the criminal, and we’ll keep in touch," he quickly mumbled, before walking away.

I saw as the car door slammed and drove away, leaving my alone there in the night. He would be sure to call again, they always do. After all, it was my job to help them, in exchange of them keeping off my back. I exited the compound, walking along the road towards the city.

With nothing but the silent road as my company, my thoughts began to wander. On how the government in general views us immortals in distrust, and would very much prefer to keep us in check. Locked up, if they may.

Hypocrisy, if you ask me, as I know of several officials who were immortals themselves. But unlike them, I was special, a totally different record holder, you may say, which was why governments, not just one but most, have a special interest in me. If they could, they would have locked me up a long time ago, keep me away from the public, so they could study me. Maybe unlock the secret of stopping immortality.

But I have connections that they don’t. Connections that they’re afraid to touch. Besides, I help them with the growing problem of people seeking out immortality, using whatever devious means they could.

Most kills using a rifle. Most kills through the use of acid. Most limbs dismembered. Most eyes gouged. All sick and cruel methods, but to them it was just means to an end. The heart stealer was but another person in the never-ending list of wannabe immortals, seeking out a long life through a method most would condemn as immoral.

Why couldn’t these people choose a less barbaric record to break instead, like the most meatballs eaten in 10 minutes? Or the most consecutive hours you can sleep at one go without waking up? They had to choose a record that involves killing. Or worse, torture.

The buzzing phone in my pocket jolted me from my thoughts. I fished the phone out of the pocket and pressed it against my ears. A familiar voice greeted me from the other end. “So, I assume that work tonight went well? I miss you, just so you know,” the voice purred.

I laughed. No matter how long I had lived, Eve’s voice never fails to bring a skip to my heart. After all, she was the first woman that I had met. And like me, she was an immortal too, holding a record that was not too different than mine.

“Yeah, we caught that sick dude. But like the rest of the other record-aspiring criminals, he would be quietly locked up without any news coverage, to prevent others from trying to break his record. With any luck, he would stay locked up for a long time,” I replied.

There was a short “Uh-huh” from the other end of the line, before going silent. Something was bothering her.

“What’s wrong, my dear?” I asked.

Another period of silence before she finally spoke. Her voice sounded much more serious now. “The US President called again just now, asking for an audience with you-know-who. Despite me telling him that it’s almost impossible, we ourselves have not had any contact for more than 2000 over years, he just refuses to listen. And I think his patience is running out.”

I pressed my head at the sudden news. I had hoped my friends in the Congress would have convinced him to lay off the both of us by now, but this new president was unlike any other. Brash, loud and not able to take a no for an answer. “Tell him to give us a little more time. I’ll figure out something,” I responded.

“Promise?”

“Promise. I need to go now, but I will see you later. I love you dear.”

“And I love you too.”

There was a short beep and the line went dead. I stopped in my tracks, staring at the sky, hoping for some response. Or a signal at least. But it has been more than 2000 years since He went silent, for reasons even us the immortals do not know.

He had promised to return, a second coming, and as each day passes, with the possible catastrophes facing earth getting increasingly precarious, I wondered if He had drifted off to some other universe to create another world building game. After all, Earth was started off partly as a joke in his head.

“What if I make anyone who holds a world record an immortal?” I remember Him saying, during many of the walks we had in the garden. I remember asking him what a world record was, which he patiently explained to me.

“Wouldn’t that make me a default record holder then?” I remember asking, to which He broadly smiled in response.

“Yes! Isn’t it brilliant? No matter how many records others may have or could be broken, yours is by default the unbreakable one!” He proudly declared at that time, seemingly amazed at the loophole that he had created for me. For Eve.

But that was really, really long ago. Before the fall. Before humans discovered the secret to immortality. Before we realized that it was a curse as much as it was a gift I had lived to a grand total of 930 years according to records, as many other of my children, but it was then when the persecution started, when the non-immortals hunted us down, locked us up, tortured us in every way possible because they envied what they did not have.

That was when we realized that it was best to keep our immortality a secret, a knowledge only a few knew. Of course, He came again, a second time, when civilization started to flourish. In the form of a human nonetheless. I had tried to make contact with him, being all the way in China then, but I was too late. He was gone in less than three years, with the promise of returning again soon.

Since then, He had gone silent, seemingly abandoning us, leaving this world to evolve on its own. And we immortals had to learn to adapt. The core immortals, at least. Those who came from the ancient times, forever zealously guarding their records.

I stared at the sky harder, hoping for something. Hoping that He would respond. And that was when I heard it. His voice. Coming from all around me, but yet at the same time, from within me.

“Adam, my firstborn. It is almost time.” It announced.

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