I wrote this piece of flash fiction for a contest a couple of years ago. I thought I might as well share it here.
The overgrown, discarded remnants of Ancient Europe lay in ruins behind her, an abandoned shadow of humanity. Layers of plant life covered the dead streets, smothered frozen statues, crawled through deserted vehicles and climbed crumbling buildings.
Cities had risen, flourished and fallen.
She had seen the birth and death of them all.
Roma III, New London, Det Andra Stockholm.
She had lived through them all.
Lived. That word would not describe the throbbing of her synthetic heart, driven by chemically induced electricity. That word could not explain the swelling of her engineered lungs as she drew breath after breath of toxic air, purifying the soiled atmosphere through bio-chemical processes as it passed through her body. That word did not illustrate the flow of the bloodlike substance, described by scientists and alchemists long since dead as the elixir of life, that pulsed through her veins and rejuvenated her body.
Once the white drops were discovered, it had all been a race for survival.
“Immortality, immorality,” she mused and her hoarse, useless voice was the last echo of a mother, a sister, a daughter, resounding across the void of dark space and despair that lay before her feet. Earth was a lonely place for those select few still living.
The ugliness of humanity had truly peaked following the discovery of immortality during the third century. The ability to stop, and even reverse, aging – to put an end to wrinkles, hair loss and varicose veins – was the discovery of the century, an evolutional revolution equivalent to that of the discovery of fire, of language or of electricity.
With these drops, you will age no more…
… and death by deterioration of body and mind is no longer a threat.
Immortality. There was no such thing. It was a mere illusion. The elixir of life meant the end of aging, but not the end of dying. The Immortality Wars raged for decades, stretched into centuries. Resources grew sparse. Starvation, poverty and disease claimed the lives of the Mortal. Violence, poison and murder reduced the numbers of the Immortal.
“We thought it was a cure, but it was poison.”
Her voice was silenced by thunder. Arcs of white light illuminated the clouded heights of heaven as electric storms raged across the surface of the Earth, a dark rock once again, no longer illuminated by manmade sources of light. No longer bound by the hours, minutes and seconds of mankind.
Across the plain she saw the silhouette of a man in a bionic suit similar to hers, moving toward her. He was illuminated by stray light from sprites that shot through the skies above the cumulonimbus clouds and vanished into the blackness of space.
“We were sprites,” she whispered softly, “and we will soon vanish.”