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.”
“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.
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.
"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."
We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.
Voices of Tomorrow
Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.
If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org