Author : Steven Holland

Contemplating my life’s choice, I plunge my hand beneath the slowly flowing stream water. There was only one choice in my life that makes any real difference. The cool water rushes past my hand, caressing it with the softest of touches. The bubbling of the tranquil stream joins in chorus with the soft rustle of the lush meadow grass as the wind blows through it. The smell of freshly cut hay permeates the air. I remove my hand from the water, stroll slowly to a nearby apple tree, and delicately pluck an apple from the tree’s branches. The apple’s flavor defies any just description. The taste is luscious and full, sweet, yet retaining the slightest hint of tartness. Holding the apple in hand, I debate whether or not to take a bite of it.

What the hell was I thinking, I ask myself for the zillionth time. Burning in hell would be better than what’s coming. A vehement fury suddenly sweeps over me. I crush the apple in my bare hand, watching the juice squeeze from the apple and drip to the ground.

I know each of these sensations from memory, memories I will never experience again. It all happened so long ago.

I was a coward then. Withering away on my death bed with the knowledge of the fiery fate that awaited me, the deal was all too easy to make. Immortality and eternal youth sounded good at the time, but at the cost of all my senses? What the hell was I thinking?

“Oh don’t worry,” that soothing voice whispered in my ear, “I will give you 100 years between each harvest. You will hardly notice the difference. But on the other hand… if you wish to come with me, I can guarantee that your stay will be… sensationally intense.”

So like the coward I was, I agreed. Immediately, my strength returned and my body regenerated to the prime of life. For the next hundred years I existed; I really wouldn’t call it living. I witnessed everyone I knew and loved grow old and die. And all that time, the nagging knowledge of what fate I had chosen gnawed at my mind.

At the end of the first hundred years, that soothing voice came to collect his first prize. He gave me the choice of which sense would be harvested first. I chose smell. In an instant, that soothing voice disappeared along with my ability to smell.

So my existence proceeded. Every hundred years brought another visit and another loss of my senses, first smell, then taste, next (after a difficult decision), touch, and then hearing. That was 499 years ago.

For what purpose he chose me, I cannot imagine. I guess the twisted bastard has a sick sense of humor. It doesn’t matter. My eyes report the clouds are especially beautiful today. So like the coward I still am, I sit and stare, waiting for my senseless hell to begin.

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