The Immortal

The Immortal danced.

The colony world smelled like new spring, and the night air was cool on the Immortals skin. He whirled around the bonfire the settlers had made to rejoice in the spring and celebrate the barn raising. The immortal flung his feet in a wild and practiced dance and thought about suicide. His parents were dead, his friends were dead, and a month ago, his last living child was killed. His daughter had been one of the few accidental deaths. Even with all the safeguards, spaceships still crashed. His daughter had been three hundred years old.

The Immortal whirled like a dervish. The colony honored him, he was the oldest among them and they treated him with distant reverence. The colonists brought him baskets of food. The young people built his wooden house. No one spoke to him unless he spoke first.

This was the start of a new world, and he thought that surrounded by young people he would feel their excitement. He hoped their wide-eyed joy would bleed over to him, but they just made him feel older. He was living like a runner in a marathon, looking forward to the next mark, promising himself that would be his stopping point.

He could easily have an accident, just like his daughter. He could fling himself off a cliff, or sink himself in the lake. He could die too. It could be over. They would not bring him back, they would respect his wishes.

He whirled and found a young woman spinning towards him, into his arms, her waist slim under his fingers, her eyes pale as a morning sky. She danced with him, and he thought he might live a while longer.

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