“Oh how wrong we were to think immortality meant never dying” – Gerard Way
Tobias is an immortal. A living, breathing, actual, honest-to-God immortal. It doesn’t really matter how or why he achieved immortality, only that he has. And when one is over five centuries old but only looks to be a man of 35, and can never die, it tends to make one an arrogant sort. Tobias was certainly that, as well as overbearing and vain. It can also make one enormously bored. Tobias was indeed bored, but also quite mean, and he came up with a very mean prank to pull on as many unsuspecting people as he could.
To alleviate his boredom brought on by living five centuries, Tobias issued a cruel challenge in major newspapers around the world to everyone and anyone who might listen to him: a prize of $5 million cash would be awarded via lawyers to anyone able to kill him. That’s it. Quite simple sounding in its straightforwardness. Now, of course, Tobias neglected mentioning to anyone he is an immortal, or that he never intended to pay anyone one cent of that money. But, Tobias thought, since they could ever succeed, what difference did it really make anyway?
Most people figured him to be joking, or just plain crazy, so not many would take him up on the challenge. Not to say some people didn’t try.
There was the guy who shot Tobias point blank in the chest five times with a gun. Tobias just roared with laughter as the man stomped off in frustration.
And another fellow who shot several arrows into Tobias’ back. That only made him laugh hysterically as well.
Not to forget that woman who traveled across the country, certain she would return home with all that prize money, who tried poisoning Tobias. But he just stifled a belch and smirked as she screamed in frustration and defeat, and stalked off.
During these sporadic attempts to kill Tobias and claim the prize, one certain challenger appeared time and again who refused to give up. She tried the usual deadly means: bullets, knives, poison, etcetera, etcetera. Her name is Agnes. And she always met with defeat. But Agnes had her eyes on that prize, and knew oh so many more ways to kill a man. She wasn’t going to let a few failures get in her way.
After her last attempt, Tobias was feeling particularly jubilant. So in his arrogance, in his over-confidence, in his absolute foolhardiness, he shouted to Agnes the truth as she stormed off in defeat: that he is an immortal. Those people who never die but go on living without end. Seeing him survive each attempt on his life convinced Agnes his words had to be true. Agnes then researched the subject of immortals thoroughly, and when she had learned all there is to know about them, set out to capture Tobias herself. She recognized his arrogance being a weakness, and would use that to her advantage. She was a rather attractive woman, and could easily lure Tobias to her home, where she could then carry out her vengeful plan.
And she proceeded to do just that.
In her studies, Agnes discovered that immortals, for some reason, have a vulnerability to milk.
It cannot harm them, but it renders them temporarily unconscious when drank; quite helpless for a while. So she got Tobias into her home under false pretenses and naughty promises, tricked him into drinking a glass of milk, and watched him fall unconscious onto her living room floor.
After an uncertain amount of time, Tobias slowly regained consciousness, feeling very immobile. He immediately noted he was secured onto a long, wooden table, unable to move, barely able to breathe. Agnes stood beside him, a very satisfied smirk on her face.
Tobias struggled with the leather straps binding him a moment or two, then accepted the situation. That only served to turn the smirk on Agnes’ face into a full grin, just shy of a laugh.
Then the exposition began, as Agnes explained her point of view. She tells her captive how she was at the end of her rope financially, set to lose her house they now occupy at the moment to the bank. How she saw his ad in the newspaper, about his offer to pay big money to anyone who successfully kills him. Agnes recounts what Tobias is already painfully aware of: the bullets, the knife, the arrows she has shot and plunged into him with hopes of winning that cash and saving her house. How she didn’t know he is an immortal, a true immortal, and that she (and anyone else playing the fool) had absolutely no hope of ever seeing a cent of that money. This had really pissed her off, and that led to her hatching this plan to capture Tobias, and make him pay for what he has done, what he has cost her. She informed Tobias how she researched immortals, how to knock one out (the glass of milk he drank), and how nothing could kill a true immortal.
She then informed the captive Tobias of the thoughts that began running through her mind, of just where the advantage of living forever ends, and the disadvantage begins.
Agnes paused a moment, to let Tobias know there is morphine in his system, to kill the pain. Then she began her explanation of just what pain she referred to, which tied in nicely with what she had been saying prior. Agnes mentioned how she had discovered how much an immortal can endure, and how she was about to test that boundary right now.
At this point in her monologue she picked up a hand saw and waved it in Tobias’ face. She then revealed how she had conceived a way to turn the advantage of living forever into a distinct disadvantage of living forever. Agnes then picked up a cloth with her other hand and forced it into Tobias’ mouth. She then walked to his left foot, and rubbed it a couple times, smiling at its owner with a fake grin and then winking at him.
By now, Tobias has begun to realize just how dire his situation is, and the cloth stifles his scream rather well. Agnes wastes no time, and saws at his foot, while Tobias can only look on in horror. Once done, she carries his separated foot up to his face, waving it some to accentuate her pleasure from her triumph. She also noted how all the blood remains inside an immortal’s body, perhaps what contributes to their eternal life. Her pleasure was significantly amped by the tears running down Tobias’ cheeks. Even more so when she saw his horrified reaction to her informing him she intended to do the same to the rest of his body.
And she proceeded to do just that.
This took some time, with Agnes showing Tobias each body part she had just removed, and laughing with profound glee. And she caught herself humming Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”, stopped herself, then resumed it when she saw how much it really bothered Tobias.
Once she was finished, all his body parts lay displayed out on the table, his head propped upright on its stump so he could see himself all separate and spread out in quite an organized way.
Then Agnes continued sharing her train of thought from before. How an immortal can enjoy an unending life as long as life goes well, but if they should find themselves crippled or — she paused on this point for dramatic effect, and to see Tobias wince — cut up into little pieces, the rest of their eternal existence would be most unpleasant indeed. Live life eternally happy and whole, life can be great. Live life eternally with a body in pieces, life can be a forever-living hell. Tobias understood her meaning all too well at this point, his separated head all ashen, wearing a stunned look on his face.
Agnes realized he might be a bit preoccupied with his unpleasant situation, but that didn’t stop her from further explaining what her intentions are. Looking him dead in his eyes, she told him how she will leave his separated but immortal parts right where they are, while she keeps his immortal head safe with her. Safe and sound, living in his expensive home, spending his millions, eating expensive food, buying her expensive clothing — Tobias wouldn’t need clothing, she laughed. His head can stay in some closet in the house, maybe coming out once in a while to see her latest outfit she bought. Or maybe even go for a spin with her in her new car, tucked away in the backseat, of course.
On that note, Agnes grabbed up a bowling bag she had set aside just for this use, lifted up Tobias’ head by the hair, and placed him inside the bag (perfect fit!).
After zipping it shut, she began happily humming that Paul Anka song again, as she and the bag walked out the back door and disappeared forever into that night.
“I intend to live forever, or die trying.” – Groucho Marx
Guy Ricketts is a writer of fiction, having been published in Speculative 66 and 101 Words. He is also an artist, and recently had his artwork featured on the cover of Schlock! webzine. He currently lives in Detroit, Michigan, and he can be followed on Twitter @GuyRicketts