Author: Paul Schmidt

Joshua burst awake, a dislocated memory of laughter and candlelight tapering into the ether. That same synthetic voice buzzed in his ear. His contact companion, installed at his ocular barrier, always had a habit of waking him abruptly.

“Rise and shine, Joshua! It’s a fantastic day.”

Joshua gritted his teeth, groggily slipping on yesterday’s shirt and shuffled out towards his larger-than-life floor display. His home responded to his movements, gradually illuminating with every step. Something on the display caught his eye. A curious pop-up right in the middle of the global news feed.

“It’s finally here. Humanity’s triumph over time itself.” The synthetic voice had an uncanny way of detecting interest.

The pop-up was all too clear. It screamed, “Aging-Defunct, the Fountain of Forever Youth!”

“Now what the hell is this?” Joshua squinted at the new arrival.

“Based on your marginally positive interaction with the newsfeed,” the voice persevered, “I have completed your online purchase for Aging-Defunct. Delivery estimated next week.”

Frustratingly, Joshua made his coffee in silence. Sipping, he reread the exuberant pop-up. Freedom from the cycle of life and death. An invention that defies human nature itself. Too cryptic to be reliable, too authoritative to dismiss.

Over the next week, Joshua’s curiosity became a slow-burning anticipation. By the time the looming package sat in his living room, he was almost eager.

“And what exactly did I just sign for?” Joshua asked suspiciously, staring at a seemingly ordinary syringe.

“It’s your Aging-Defunct,” the voice chimed cheerfully.

“What, this needle?”

“Indeed. A simple injection to hinder your internal epigenetic clocks. You’ll never age another day, guaranteed.”

Joshua eyed the syringe, thoughts spinning. The weight of immortality resting in a cheap plastic casing.

It took three days of internal debates, scouring articles, and calling family members before finally, Joshua sighed.

“Alright.” The syringe pierced his skin. He waited.

For anything. A shiver. A sudden epiphany. Anything at all.

“You may not feel it, even for weeks,” the voice soothed. “But rest assured, Joshua, your transactional history would suggest you’ve made the best investment of your life.”

And with that cheerful note, Joshua started his first day as an immortal. His first day staring at an endless future, with no defined ending in sight. Little did he know; forever might not be as rosy as it sounds. Behind those endless tomorrows, lay the true test of Humanity’s triumph: the grim reality of outlasting time.