Immortality

quote-naturally-there-s-got-to-be-a-limit-for-i-don-t-expect-to-live-forever-but-i-do-intend-isaac-asimov-37-87-55

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

If I could limit the degradation of my body and mind, I would want to live forever. (Immortality with dementia or complete paralysis is quite possibly the most terrifying thing I can think of.)

A lot of people talk about living forever (again if you could stay healthy) as something that would be terrible or horrifying. It may be the idea of watching everyone you care for grow old and die and I agree that idea is sad. I love my family and by the age of 26, I’d lost both my parents, three of my grandparents, a few cousins, my childhood best friend, and almost all my great-aunts and uncles. Death sucks for the people who care about you.

My family has a very low life expectancy; my mother didn’t make it into her sixties and my father didn’t make it into his fifties. Those ages are closer then I’d like them to be and it scares me. I have so many novels to write, so many memories to make with my daughter, so many things I haven’t tried, and so many places I want to visit. I don’t want to shuffle, deal, or fold, this mortal coil any time soon.

So yes, if I could live forever. I would. I’d want to offer the same to my wife and daughter, in-laws, friends, and you (my imaginary friends/fans).

My goal and hope is to make it to 2068, that way I’ll see the 100th anniversary of Doctor Who (2063) Star Trek (2066), and the bi-centennial of Canada (2067). My daughter will be 50 at that point and I hope to see her doing something she loves as a career. Maybe grandchildren, if she wants. I also hope that I’ll get to see a more open and tolerant world by then.

I have so much left to do…

Would you live forever if you could stay physically and mentally healthy?

To many later days,

Éric

Only Human (Serial Story) Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

“Dreamy,” sighed Ginny with a faraway look.

“I’m guessing you know him then?” asked Rachel sarcastically.

“Everyone knows him,” added Tim. “And I agree with Ginny, he’s dreamy.” The two girls turned and looked at the gnome in his wheelchair with surprise in their eyes. “What? I have a thing for tricksters.” Tim blushed and did his best not to meet Ginny’s eyes. “So what happened next?”

“The teacher said that anyone who hadn’t lifted their hand in the first wave should find another class, those that lifted their hands in the middle group had potential and should stay in the class, while the two of us would be bumped up to the next level since we either had training or talent.”

“It’s probably cause you’re a demi-god,” said Tim. They were all in the cafeteria avoiding studying for various subjects. No matter what time of day she’d been there, Rachel had never seen the cafeteria be anything but busy.

“Probably,” replied Rachel.

“Right, absolutely,” replied Ginny.

“Wait, what am I missing?”

“Nothing.” Ginny’s voice cracked. Her perfect hair and flawless skin were the perfect frame for her large worried eyes.

“You may be supernaturally pretty, but you’re a terrible liar,” laughed Tim.

Ginny actually blushed her cheeks turning almost as red as her hair. “You think I’m pretty?”

“The only parts of me that don’t work properly are my legs. My eyes are perfectly fine.”

Unsure if she’d been outed, or used for the most adorable flirting, Rachel cleared her throat and said, “What are you getting at Tim?”

“Huh? Oh, Yeah. You two are hiding something and I want in.”

“Two nights ago you were begging me not to kill you and now you want in on a secret?”

“What, you’re an efficient killing machine and absolutely terrifying but you’re growing on me.”

Rachel laughed awkwardly. She hadn’t told Ginny about the details, “Coming from the guy who’s flirting with a vampire.”

“Just tell him,” Ginny ignored her.

“I’m not a demi-god. I’m human. I have no idea why I’m here.” It wasn’t easy keeping this lie straight but it was better than avoiding talking in front of one of her new friends.

“Shit, you are a Huntress?”

“No, just human with training.”

“So if you’re human, than why could you see through Dowan’s illusions?” Tim asked.

“Some Humans have divinatory powers.” Ginny shrugged, seeming over her earlier bout of blushing.

Nodding Tim said, “It would explain your speed and fighting ability.”

When Rachel chose a spot to sit, she always tried to have a wall at her back. It meant she couldn’t be surprised by someone sneaking up behind her. When she felt hands placed over her eyes and a warm breath on the back of her neck, she panicked. She threw her head back into the nose of the person behind her and reached up to grab the quickly retreating hand. She used her shoulder and back to lever the person and toss them over the table. Jumping out of her seat she ran to her attacker and placed her foot on his neck.

Staring up at her with a look of terror was Dowan, looking more the frightened child than the usual cocky trickster. He gurgled at her and she took her foot away from his throat.

“I normally avoid the rough stuff until the third date,” he tried to sound glib as blood flowed from his nose. The cafeteria patrons giggled awkwardly.

“I’m sorry. Why’d you sneak up on me?” She ran and got some paper towels. When she came back he was sitting in her chair at the table.

“Some girls like it when a handsome man tries to surprise them.” He nudged a small bouquet of crushed flowers with his foot.

“Not a fan of surprises.”

“I’m starting to get that.” He laughed and took the paper towels. After a little while, the blood stopped and he managed to clean himself up a little. She could already see the bruises turning dark blue on his brown skin. “So would it be stupid of me to ask you out anyways?” he asked with a small smirk and eyebrow raise.

“Suicidal maybe,” suggested Ginny, which made everyone laugh.

“Well…” Rachel trailed off. He wasn’t likely to be a killer monster, so maybe it wouldn’t be that bad. He was handsome. She seemed to have trouble taking her eyes off his lips. She really wanted to taste them.

“Yo! Rachel. How’s it hanging?” yelled Ronnie from across the cafeteria. Somehow he still managed to make it look cool; strutting in flanked by two other boys, all in the same football jackets. When he came closer he asked, “So how’s my favourite demi-god?”

Standing up in a fury, Ginny said, “She’s fine and off limits jackass.”

“Let the girl talk for herself, sis. She’s old enough, and certainly hot enough.” That’s when he saw Dowan and growled. He actually growled, and it sounded like a something that should have come from a large wolf.

Standing, Dowan was still half a head shorter than Ronnie, but he had a natural presence that made him seem more intimidating. “Do you really want to do this?”

“I’m a sixth generation vampire and a fourth generation all-star athlete, your little tricks don’t scare me.”

“I’m descended from the raven himself, white-boy. Or should I call you dead-boy?”

The cafeteria hadn’t reacted much when Rachel had thrown Dowan across the room, but now the entire room grew silent and more than half of the patrons suddenly remembered they had other things to do. Even Ginny looked cowed.

The lights flickered and darkness swirled around the two men despite the daylight coming through the windows.

Pulling two of her longer knives Rachel jumped forward and placed herself between the two men. Part of her enjoyed that they were ready to fight for her; it was thrilling to be wanted. It didn’t mean she was going to allow them to act like idiots.

“Gentlemen. I understand that you want to prove which of you has the biggest… you know what…” she blushed, feeling that she had just lost all her intimidation. She tried to think of something witty to say and decided on tapping each of their inner thighs with one of the knives, “Go away.”

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The 16th of September, 2039

Hello,

I have skills, but sometimes I feel utterly useless when it comes to the working world. There aren’t a lot of full time jobs for Layout Artists, which means there’s little to no advancement. I have a good job and I’m good at it, but both the public service and private industry are moving away from print layouts and going straight to website. It’ll take a while before I’m completely obsolete, but it is inevitable.

I got my Pension Statement today. I can retire in 2039 with penalties or 2044 without penalties. I’m lucky that I was hired before they bumped the retirement age by 5 years. So in theory, I’ll be able to retire between 56-61 years of age. Those numbers are scary for me; both my parents died before 60. My plan is to live until 90 so I can yell at kids to get off my space lawn, see the 200th anniversary of confederation, and the 100th anniversary Doctor Who special.

My dream is to make enough money from writing and freelance work to never need to retire. I want to love my work so much that I’ll gladly keep going until I can’t anymore. I’ve been at this seriously for just over 5 years now. It’s a slow business but I’ve:

  • written 5.5 novels,  four of them that I’m proud of;
  • updated my blog regularly for 2 years.;
  • written dozens of stories;
  • designed two role playing games;
  • received rejections from 8 book agents, 3 book publishers, and a dozen magazines or anthologies
  • received one conditional acceptance from a book publisher;
  • made lots of friends that understand (and some that don’t);
  • and drank enough coffee to fill several Olympic pools.

I have a lot going for me, but sometimes it’s important to list the things I’ve done, if only to prove to myself that I haven’t been idle or wasteful.

One of the issues with writing, or any other creative calling, is the constant fear that you’re wasting your time. Even when you succeed it’s not perfect.

It’s not always easy to have faith, especially when the odds always seem against you. I know I’m a good writer and I know my stories are fun. All I can do it keep working and hope for the best.

I’ll get there! (Hopefully before 2039)

Thank you, my imaginary and not so imaginary friends, for everything, but mostly thank you for listening.

 

In what dramatic way would you quit your job if you could?

Éric

Only Human (Serial Story) Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

Standing in the middle of a street party at Monsters University, Rachel was surrounded by people. Currently she was watching a Cyclops by the name of Al toss a smart car towards her.

Thankfully for Rachel, Al was a terrible shot and the smart car flew over and into a large brick building. Neither were damaged, the car bounced off the building and landed on its wheels in the yard.

“Wow. I guess depth perception really is important,” Rachel giggled.

Al’s eye grew wide and for a moment it looked like he was getting angrier, then he just laughed. His friends slowly joined in, unsure if they should.

“You’re funny,” said the large Cyclops. “I like you. What are you?” Anywhere else in the world that question would be rude. Here it seemed common, like asking what major you were in.

“Demi-God, and before you ask, I didn’t know my parents,” she said popping out one of her hips trying to look badass, but feeling awkward. She really hoped he didn’t ask her to prove it in some way.

“Probably not Greek, they never had much of a sense of humour.” With that, the gang of Cyclops walked away.

It mustn’t have worried the rest of the crowd; no one had paid attention and the music hadn’t even stopped. She guessed the combination of growing up around monsters and being at a university party made them completely unflappable. This would come in handy.

It was time for her to stop concentrating on being accepted and get to work. Almost exactly as she thought it, she heard a scream coming from down the street. It must have been extremely loud to be heard over the music. The crowd ignored it.

The scream was coming from two streets down between the wall of the football stadium and a row of small houses. There was no light in the grassy area but the moon. When she turned the corner she saw a small figure in a wheelchair screaming. The figure was the size and shape of a child.

Hovering over the child like figure was a tall beefy man with a long bushy beard. It wore a baggy plaid shirt and jeans. The shirt was snitched at the waist with a metal chain.

“Leave the kid alone!” She yelled as she ran towards them.

The man looked up at her and his eyes were glowing red, his teeth were sharp and brown from dried blood. His hands had long metal claws. “This child is up after seven. He is mine.” The man spoke an archaic form French that Rachel barely understood. “I am the Seven O’clock man and I always get my meal.

Standing less than a few feet from the nauseating creature, Rachel grabbed a silver dagger with her left hand and one carved with Enochian runes in her right.

“Not this time,” she growled and dove at the monster. She really needed to work on her quips they were terrible.

The man was surprised at her attack and didn’t react fast enough to stop her from cutting his arm from shoulder to elbow. He screamed and tried to slash her with his good arm. She grabbed it and pulled him forward. As he was off balance, she sidestepped behind him and cut his throat. When that didn’t seem to kill him she plunged both daggers into its head.

She quickly cleaned her weapons and turned to the child. He had a beard. “Are you ok, kid?”

“I’m a graduate student in Metaphysical Transfiguration. I’m a Gnome, not a kid.” He watched her hands as she finished the ritual movements of cleaning her daggers. “I guess I’m next?”

“Why would I kill you? I just saved you.” She asked confused.

“I recognize a Huntress when I see one. Go ahead, kill me.”

“I’d rather not kill you,” she said.

“The last time this campus had a Huntress there were over a hundred deaths before she was caught and killed. If you don’t kill me, I have to tell the authorities that we have a batshit crazy killer running around.”

“I’m not a serial killer, I’m a demi-god,” she hoped that the lie would work. She didn’t want to kill the child-sized man in a wheelchair. “I only killed that thing because it was trying to eat you and I could hear your screams from two blocks over.”

“Oh. Sorry. My current condition makes me a little paranoid.” He pointed at the chair.

Having cleaned her weapons and then her hands with holy water, she reached out her hand to shake his. As they shook she said, “Rachel, Cryptozoology major.”

“Mind walking me back to my dorm? Looks like this party is attracting all kinds of attention.”

* * *

Hunting at night was easier after the first time. There wasn’t always a party and she often slipped into town to try and protect the locals. Her classes were another story completely. They were difficult and her teachers gave a lot of homework.

Every week she had six mandatory two hour classes, two four hour labs, and one optional class. For her optional class she had the choice between Magical History, Forgotten Mythology, and Divinatory Theory. She took the last one, hoping it might help her find what had killed her sister.

The teacher was a Hag, a race of women who were extremely ugly and had impressive amounts of magical power. They were what a Halloween witch was made to look like. Her matted grey hair and pointy chin bobbed up and down and she talked, “If you’re here in the hopes that I can teach you to get divinatory powers you’re sadly mistaken. This class will concentrate on the theory and history of divination, not it’s practice. Only one in a thousand have any sort of divinatory power and most of those only get gut feelings.”

That’s when Rachel saw someone sitting on a chair next to the teacher’s desk. It was the boy who’d almost gotten her killed. Dowan saw her looking at him and looked a little surprised before he winked at her. His eyes twinkled with mischief.

The teacher walked to the front of the class and stood in front of the chalkboard. Dowan followed her and stood next to her. A girl from the front row stood and joined them.

“Lift your hand if you see me,” the teacher ordered. Everyone lifted their hand and a few people giggled awkwardly.

“Lift your hand if you see me,” said the girl who was standing next to the teacher. Only half the class lifted their hand this time. There was some murmuring and confused giggles.

“Last but not least, lift your hand if you can see me in all my glory,” ordered Dowan. He obviously knew he was attractive.

Rachel rolled her eyes and lifted her hand. Looking around she saw that she and one other person had lifted their hand in a class of two-hundred students.

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A glimpse forward…

Her fluorescent purple hair glowed in the dying evening light. It was a warm evening, sticky with the promise of rain. She wore a low cut top showing the silhouette of a bird tattooed on her collar bone. The tattoo calmly flapped its wings, vainly attempting to escape a prison of skin and digitized ink.
The buildings shine and glimmer in vibrant colours. A backdrop for ghost images appearing in the corner of her eye. Each advertised the store, service, or persons residing inside the building.
She smiled as she passed a young man dressed in a classic white t-shirt and jeans. As he walked his information appeared next to his head. Name, age, sexual preference, relationship status, favorite quote and a silly picture.
She winked at him, it served the double purpose of “Liking” his profile, and the more traditional way of showing him the same thing. She could have chosen any eye trigger to accomplish the same digital ends, it was the intentions that counted not the interface.
Reaching home she dimmed her hair with a thought and unlocked her door in the same way.
Interfacing with the house told her that she had mail, the old fashioned kind, the oven was pre-heated, and the tofu for dinner was de-frosted. She put supper together, she added real veggies from her miniature garden and in les then ten minutes, sat down to eat.
As she sat down to eat she interfaced with her home network and streamed a home repair show. During the commercial she thought, “I wonder want the future will be like?”