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Fiction: Unintentional Change [Part 2 of 2] (574 words)

James swallowed hard a few times. “I what? I don’t have the ability to make anyone immortal. Do you? Is that something we develop over a few millennia or something?”

“It is something you can do. I can too, apparently. It’s just the circumstances are so weird that it’s not something most of us run into.” Matthew was less angry now that James wasn’t lying to him. He was in teacher mode instead of integration mode.  “Apparently, Protectors can influence mortals through extended contact and strong emotions. Right now, her DNA and blood samples match those of a protector, although she was clearly not born that way.”

James blinked at Matthew. “What?”

“Here, look,” Matthew shoved the open book at Matthew’s hand, “Start at this paragraph.”

James looked down at the page automatically, but it took him a little while to calm his brain down enough to actually start processing the words on the page.

Protectors live in a contradictory way with the mortals that they help protect. On one side of the argument, they must care for the mortals their lives touch in order to continue with their destiny of protecting and keeping the mortal lives balanced. Without caring for the mortals then the motivation to protect and save would fade away entirely.

However, Protectors also live for thousands of their mortals’ lifetimes, which makes it harder to connect with mortals on any kind of interpersonal level, often their problems are hard to relate to when they will be over in a comparably  very short time. Because of this, most Protectors stick to their core groups of two to five Protectors per case. Romantic relationships between Protectors occur only fleetingly because the population of Protectors very rarely deplete since very few mortals are capable of harming Protectors in any kind of meaningful way.

Even rarer is a genuine relationship between a mortal and a Protector. Physical relationships are not unheard of, but a genuine romantic relationship has only been documented six times in the study of Protector history. This is easy to document because of the strange effect that being in close contact with a Protector who cares for them has on mortal DNA.  The mortal, over time, begins to develop Protector traits, and if the attention of the Protector continues for long enough, the mortal’s DNA will change to almost identical to Protector’s DNA, with only the most researched in DNA studies being able to see the difference between original Protector DNA and converted mortal DNA. 

It is the attraction and attachment of the Protector that creates this effect on the mortal DNA, as there are many cases of mortals sharing homes and close proximity with Protectors without any of the mutations occurring, even a Protector and a mortal living isolated together did not introduce this change. (See The Forty Years Isolation Experiment, pg. 218) This lead many scientific minds to believe it is the romantic attachment of the Protector.

James stopped reading and looked up at Matthew shell shocked.  “I did this to her?”

“You did this to her,” Matthew answered bluntly, taking the book away from him, “Now, if I were you, I would go in there and start groveling because of the way you’ve been treating her the last few days.” Matthew snapped the book shut and headed back up the stairs.

James turned to face the basement door. What in the world was he going to say to her?

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Posted by on June 13, 2017 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Unintentional Change [Part 1 of 2] (518 words)

Cindy sat on a chair in the basement.  Matthew was pouring over book after book, comparing the blood that she’d given him under the microscope to the pictures covering his pages.  James sat slumped on the futon in the corner, trying to act casual, but he kept glancing back to Cindy to make sure she hadn’t moved. It broke his heart not to trust her. She had been such a good friend to them, for so long—but he didn’t know who she actually was. He wanted to believe that she didn’t know either. He wanted to believe she was just as shocked as he was to wake up after what should have been a fatal blow to the back of her head and neck.

But what if she wasn’t shocked? What if she was something he didn’t know, and he was there to hurt him, to hurt Matthew? What if she was the thing that Matthew and he had been drawn here to protect against?

He saw Cindy shift uncomfortably in her seat, and he realized he’d been staring at her for a while. He turned back to look at Matthew, who now seemed very still. That meant he was close. He’s almost figured it out and now he was just ironing out details before he presented his ideas to anyone else. James subconsciously relaxed. Matthew would have an answer soon. Whether it was good news or bad news it would be good to finally just have a concrete answer.

Slowly, almost like he was coming out of a trance, Matthew stood up straight at his work table.  After a moment, he turned to look at James, almost like he was in a daze. “James. I need to speak to you in the hall.  Now.”

It was the sharp tone in Matthew’s voice that caught James off guard. Matthew wasn’t the sharp-voiced type. It was that distraction that made James follow Matthew out of the room without thinking about the fact that they were leaving Cindy alone with several means to escape.

They had barely gotten into the hall when Matthew swung the door shut hard behind them, and pointed an accusing finger to the room. “Do you love her?”

There were two beats of silence, then James blinked and said, “No.”

“I’d advise you not to lie to me,” Matthew retorted, in full professor voice. It wasn’t often that James thought about the fact that Matthew was technically nearly double his age.  That was the problem of being immortal in a mortal world. Sometimes he forgot that he lived in a way that was unlike those around him.

James didn’t say anything else. He wasn’t stupid enough to lie again when he’d been warned. Matthew nodded his head sagely. “Well, why ask the question if you already knew the answer?” James countered, starting to get annoyed now. He had no idea what all this was about, and he didn’t appreciate the third degree in the meantime.

“I knew the answer, because if you love her—you did this to her. She’s immortal now—because of you.”

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Stories

 

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Fiction: No Answers (651 words)

They were all there in silence, waiting for one of them to think of something to say. Cindy sat on the couch, sitting gingerly to not upset the still rather sore spot on the back of her head and neck.  James was leaning against the wall near the door, his face covered in half shadow, listening for anyone who might be coming up the front path.  Matthew paced slowly and soft, back and forth along the length of the couch, his mouth moving in silent argument with himself.

And, as usual, Matthew pulled it all together first. “Okay.” He whispered it, but it sounded like a foghorn in the silence of the room. “Apparently, Cindy is also immortal.”

“Yeah, how is that?” Cindy asked, just a bubble of panic at the edge of her voice, “I’m almost ninety-five percent sure that I had a fire axe in the back of my head two days ago, and I don’t know too many people who can walk and talk after receiving that kind of treatment, present company excluded.”

“She couldn’t be a…” James asked from his shadow, trailing off before mentioning what Cindy might be.

“No, no, absolutely not,” Matthew answered without hesitation, “we would know. We would feel her presence. She must be—something else immortal. Something we haven’t run into before.”

Matthew turned and studied Cindy carefully, eyes slowly moving up and down her body. If anyone else was looking at her like that she would have slapped them across the face and informed them in one way or another that she wasn’t just a piece of meat. But she knew that Matthew wasn’t looking at her like a woman—he was looking at her like a mystery. So, instead of slapping him she just shifted uncomfortably under his gaze, hoping that any second he would stick a finger in the air and declare that he’d figured out why she was still alive.

But after a long time, Matthew straightened up and uttered his least three favorite words “I—Don’t know.”

Cindy suddenly felt heavy, like she was suddenly deep underwater and there was pressure coming in on all sides.  If Matthew didn’t know, if Matthew didn’t even have a clue—then she might never know. “I—I think I am going to go to bed.” She stood up slowly, careful not to jar her head too much and make herself light headed all over again.  “Does anyone mind if I go take a nap on the futon?”

“Yes,” James stepped out of the shadow, his face showing no emotion at all. “You may sleep in my room, and I’ll keep guard outside the door.” Cindy’s face must have fallen, because James continued to explain, still with no outward emotion. “This goes one of two ways, Cindy. It’s either that you’ve never uh,” He made a small gesture with his hands, “not died before, so we don’t know what kind of reactions that you might have, and someone should be nearby if something goes wrong. Or you know exactly what’s going on, you aren’t who you say you are, and someone should keep an eye on you.”

The tight, heavy feeling increased around Cindy. She couldn’t even protest about him not trusting her after all this time, because she didn’t know if she could be trusted yet. And Matthew didn’t know what she was. “Okay,” she answered quietly, not able to look James’ expressionless face in the eye, “I understand.”

“Sleep well,” Matthew offered as Cindy made her way to James’ room.

“Thanks,” she offered weakly. She was grateful that the pain and heavy feeling were going to help her fall asleep instantly. If she had to try to set her mind to being still, she might never get any sleep again. But as soon as her head hit James’ pillow, her eyes were closed and she was out. For now.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Stories, Uncategorized

 

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