On The Edge Of The Horizon


On the edge of the horizon

It had been a chilly day. Detective Connor blew his nose into the handkerchief once again; the weather had been rather unkind to his sinuses. He had been meaning to see the doctor, but duty stood above all. Besides, with immortality, a cold couldn’t kill you. Not that it didn’t have its disadvantages. Most diseases had been eradicated, but since nobody was going to die, nobody really cared. But of course, all of mankind’s great innovations still couldn’t protect our detective from the nefarious cold. The detective froze for a moment. His phone was ringing. Not that he had had any foreboding, he simply didn’t wish to take the gloves off his hands. As he kept the phone back in his pocket, he realised he should have had a foreboding. A visit to the doctor was due.

In the recent past, there had been a spurt in the rates of rapes and physical assaults, because even the criminals knew they couldn’t cause anybody any form of permanent physical damage. Or so they thought. An inaudible murmur of seething rage emanated from Connor’s lips. It had been about a month since it happened. The poor girl now had to see her father’s prostrate body, soon after half of hers had turned limp too. That Friday, when Tina was returning from a visit to her friends, she realised she was being followed. In an attempt to thwart the danger she presumed she was in, and rightly so, she ran. The hooligans caught up with her soon, but she wouldn’t give in. Irritated by her guts, they beat her to a pulp, and broke her back, as a result of which the lower half of her body was rendered paralysed. One might argue it was alright, given she wasn’t going to die, but Connor would under no circumstances abide such criminality. To him, Tina was like a daughter. He had never seen her frowning, not even as her father wept while he operated on her in a failed attempt to salvage whatever little movement his skilled hands could afford his daughter.

He didn’t have the facts, nor was he even remotely aware of whether or not Tina conjectured correctly in her frail state of mind. The one thing, he did however know, was that the doctor had been found lying lifeless on his office floor. Once he was at the house, the first thing he did was meet Tina. No words were exchanged. Glances spoke all that they had to, as Tina broke into tears in his arms. He tried to hide it, but a few were shed by his eyes too. Tina spoke a few tangible words between sobs, but he wasn’t paying attention. He immediately excused himself and left to see the doctor. He had little medical knowledge, but he remembered his father once telling him a fact. It was something about how their ancestors would verify if a man was alive by checking if the left wrist was throbbing. Clearly, the doctor’s wasn’t.

Even though he was a detective, his faculties weren’t quite needed here. A letter lay in the doctor’s pocket, and the syringe the doctor administered himself the special toxin with had rolled not very far from the body. The letter read:

Dear Tina,

I know I have a lot to answer for. There are many mistakes I have made, and even though I realise my departure is perhaps the biggest one of them all, you must understand my reasons.

I lengthened lives. Lives of men who cared nothing for others. I imagined a world that was far from the throes of death and disease. It did happen, as you would already know. I need you to understand it wasn’t for the greed. However, a man once fed the taste of power can never cede it. They began to abuse their newfound ability; the inability to die.

They trivialised death. They spat in the face of it, and belittled the man who offered them dominion over it. For years, and years together, I tussled with my ethics. Who was I to change the natural order? Who was I to question the manner in which this universe offers an end to those who suffer? I am not very religious, but I am a man who couldn’t understand how things worked, and a man who finally understood why it was important to preserve the sanctity of the ways of the cosmic realm. I realised not believing that someone else controls your life doesn’t give you the authority to assume his responsibilities.

I saw you suffer, my darling, and I saw you writhe in pain. All my years of experience, all these days of feeling like I was the one who’d outclassed the devil himself had come to nothing. I couldn’t stand it. I simply couldn’t. I couldn’t stand the idea that the men who hurt you did so because you couldn’t die. Neither could they. I gave them that power. I gave all these faces these fake smiles, for they didn’t know what death felt like. Now, I will make them want it.

All of my clients, who abused my powers, have been injected a virus that cannot be treated. Their flesh will rot while they scream in pain for death, an end no power can afford them now, for the one man who could has written his last letter.

My love, I am sorry. You were all I truly had in the world, and today, here we are. I need you to know that I loved you. One day, maybe, we shall meet again, if hell and death are ever a possibility.

Connor held onto the letter. Tina needn’t know the truth, she had already faced enough. All she had to know, was that her father was a kind man, whose work was misused. A sudden sneeze sent the letter flying. He really needed to visit a doctor.