Author: Mark Joseph Kevlock

How much is enough? When is it time… for the end?

She’s just a reporter. This is just an interview.

I knew the world, of course, before there were any such things.

My name is Hanois Brutale. I’m immortal.

“I feel like… a passive god. I have observed the human race throughout a great deal of its lifespan. Yet I did not create it. And I have done little to affect it.”

“But don’t you have thousands — tens of thousands — of descendants living today? Walking the Earth with your blood inside of them?”

I answer in the affirmative, but say no more upon the subject. If, eventually, there is more of me in the world than anyone else, who is to say that the future will be better off? I gave up the role of tyrant long ago. Telling individuals what to do is tiresome. Telling entire nations is exhausting.

My immortality came as an accident. That is what I now believe. The world, via this reporter, can believe whatever it wants. Science fiction. Mutation. Divine intervention. When you have forever to entertain yourself, all possibilities can be made to exist eventually.

In other words, everything that can happen, does.

“I have lived every life I could. There are no more options.”

“That’s… inconceivable,” she says.

So I tell her about a dozen of them. Briefly.

I don’t tell her that I’m her father.

Someday, if I keep going, I’ll be everyone’s father.

No one ever inherits my immortality, though.

“A parent watches a child die. This is a tragedy. Multiply it by a dozen, this is madness. By a million, this is meaningless. So has all human suffering become to me.”

She comprehends the emotional logic of my statement, but that is all. No one forgives a heart grown cold for any reason.

Finally, we come around to the key point of my confessions. The will to live.

“What makes you, after thousands of years, ready to die?”

She has it backwards, of course.

“Death is no decision, child. Life is the decision. We live because we will ourselves to live. We die only when we stop making this decision.”

“Are you bored, then, with life?”

“Let’s just say I’ve grown insatiably curious with another subject.”

“Which is?”

“What comes after.”

“Something you’ve never been able to find out.”

“This is true.”

“How much longer have you decided to live?”

“No more than a millennium or two.”

She asks more questions, but they are all irrelevant. I have no proof she is my daughter, except that I have learned to recognize myself in others. It is nothing I can explain. I simply know.

She thanks me and departs my castle. I think about existence. So short for them; seemingly eternal for me. Yet I am still human. So I can still weep, when the mood strikes.