Life and death. This man had the burden of experiencing them both. Humans always wonder what comes after death. Some say that the righteous would go to heaven and the evil would perish in hell. He wouldn’t have the pleasure of knowing the answer either, so he only wondered alongside them. He chooses how and when he dies, he knows when it’s nearby. Being immortal is supposedly fantastic, but he doesn’t agree. At some point, he must leave his life by faking his death. Why? Immortals never grow old. Meaning that he is constantly on the move, not wanting to be recognized by those around him for his ability to not age. This causes an issue that gets tangled in his love life. Has he fallen in love? Once. Has he tried to make it work? Yes, but he came to the conclusion that love isn’t an option for a being like him. He would never be able to love another without letting his darkest secret be known. If that were to happen, he would be in a laboratory right now rather than watching his own funeral from afar.
There he was, standing beside one of the three trees that lived in the cemetery, holding an umbrella, not only to hide his identity from those attending the service but also due to the light rain that fell from the sky. “I’ve never had a funeral in the rain before,” he said out loud, being far enough to not have anyone acknowledge his presence. The service came to an end, it was as beautiful as the ones before, but to him, it had lost meaning by the tenth time he watched an empty casket get buried four feet underground. He watched as his friends left, their faces red from crying.
This was his favorite life out of all the ones he had lived thus far. He had let his shield fall, making more friendships than ever before. His attachment caused him to extend his death by two years just to hold onto it a little longer. When everyone had left the cemetery, he closed his umbrella, causing icy drops of water to fall against his clothing. Taking a deep breath of fresh air, he prepared to attempt something new. Instead of leaving the vicinity, he walked to his grave. He wanted to say goodbye to his favorite life. He slowly approached his stone, tears threatening to fall from his eyes.
When he reached his grave, he knelt on one knee, the other absorbing the moisture from the grass. He laid a palm on his gravestone, tears beginning to stream down his face. Those tears poured down his cheeks, along his chin, and onto the pasture. He looked at the flowers that his loved ones had left behind. His lips curved into a smile. He felt loved, more than he has ever felt throughout his existence. “What a life you had, Sorin,” he said out loud, reading his now previous name that was carved on the tombstone.
A voice came from behind the man. “Were you two close?”
He froze on the spot, regretting the decision he had made. He quickly had to think of something to say, something believable. “He was my brother. My twin.” He kept his vision on the tombstone.
He saw the person from the corner of his eyes as they knelt next to him. It was a woman, the woman that he fell deeply in love with for the first time in his entire life. He was shocked to see her there. “You weren’t in the service,” he managed to say.
“Neither were you,” she retorted. “I was watching from a distance, and it seemed like you were too.”
He was speechless, no words left his mouth. The woman placed a hand on his shoulder, causing him to look at her.
She examined his features. “How come he never mentioned you?”
“We were never that close.”
“I see. What’s your name?”
“Ricker,” he said, having decided his name before his death had even occurred.
“Will you be staying here for a while?”
“I’m afraid not. I have a plane to catch,” he said standing up, her rising alongside him. “Were the two of you close?” he asked, curiosity taking over him.
“I’d like to think we were,” she said, looking at his tombstone, fighting back her tears.
“Sorin and I may not have been close, but I’m sure he loved you a lot, Scarlet,” he said, blurting out her name without realizing it. The man needed to flee from that situation at once, looking at his watch and back at the woman, whose face showed a flicker of confusion before expressing certainty rather than sorrow as if her eternal doubts had just been answered.
“And I love you just as much.”
“How did you–”
“I’m not dumb, Sorin. I knew that you were keeping something from me, but I never asked because I knew that if you hadn’t told me that it was for a good reason.”
“It is, I promise you that. It’s just that–”
“You still have to leave.”
The man nodded, seeing the woman’s expression saddened. He now knew that Scarlett figured something out, but it wasn’t the secret he was keeping. Although, she could probably be close to finding out. “Don’t tell anyone, please.”
“I won’t, but you need to tell me why you did it.”
“Safety reasons,” was all he said. “I’m so sorry. I have to leave or I’m going to be late for my flight.” He handed her his umbrella since it was still raining, and she appeared to not have one of her own. “Don’t get sick. Take care of yourself,” he said, making his way out of the cemetery. “Don’t come looking for me.”
There was no answer from Scarlet as she simply just watched him walk away.
Ricker didn’t look back or think of the past, as much as it pained him. Onto a new life, a new journey.
María Fernanda Sifre was born and raised Puerto Rico, spending her days reading and writing fiction. Follow her on Instagram @maria._.fernanda2004.