Blind Assassin

I have a job most people would find… unsavory. In this day and age, though, it’s also unsurprising. The stage is being set for World War III, even if people don’t see it. The wedge of humanity is driving itself apart. To be frank, the war’s already begun. For now the war is fought through proxies like me. Assassins like me.

I’m the best there is, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. I’ve killed so many people, and you don’t even realize they’re dead, I’m so good. Of course, my client helped with that, but then, they’re a good client. They realize my worth, despite my supposed disability. Many would consider me useless in war, but not these people. They don’t mind that I’m blind, because I’m just that good.

To anyone wondering how I’m so good: Mother raised me well.

Just because I’m blind doesn’t mean I don’t know what is around me. I know this town well. Morpheus, home to the Nightmare of the Righteous, or General Heller, as you probably know him. Before the rift developed, I practically lived here. Even the parts of the town I don’t know I can feel. Most people aren’t sensitive enough to feel the space around you. I am.

I know where I am. I can feel the benches on my left; the door to my back. I hear the echoes of fireworks as my distraction plays out on the other side of town. It’s day—mid-morning, I know—but the little light I see is like evening. I can feel the water in the air on my face and arms; the sulfurous smell that confirms the fog’s presence.

I suppose it’s funny that the Righteous, who pride themselves on their humanity would create such an inhumane city. I can feel its people scraping at the door like a cat. They want out, but they believe in the righteous. They’ll stick around until the going gets tough.

But back to the mission. Time is of the essence. The way to 8th street is clear. It’s only at that point that I encounter my first problem; three of the Righteous soldiers. I can hear their armor creaking as they shift uncomfortably. They’re whispering concerns to headquarters about a man with a battle vest and blindfold. They don’t know what to make of me. That’s fine, though. They won’t be wondering much longer.

In the moment it takes a man to blink, I draw my magnum and fire it into the center soldier’s head. I like to start with a bang. The others begin firing, but by then I’m already halfway to them. I’ve put away my magnum, and in one movement I summon and throw my edge blades into both soldiers. Their guns fall silent and they collapse.

The edge blades are my favorite weapon in my arsenal. They were specially designed for me; one of a kind. I summon them back into my hands and sheath them. They’ve earned the nickname of Schrödinger’s knives for a reason. They both exist and do not exist at the same time.

I can expect reinforcements soon, so I trigger my second distraction. The explosion rips through the Dreamland Bar like a bullet entering the skull. Now the town is on high-alert. Now the Nightmare is heading to the war room. Now the citizens are wide awake. Now things are interesting.

I continue on my way to the war room. The houses are lighting up, but no one comes outside when they see me, the mystery man. They have no reason to know who I am, of course. After all, I’ve never done anything quite so public before. Still, I’m not one of them, so they have a right to fear me. If I’m not Righteous, what else could I be but Sinner?

The barracks are awake, too. I know because patrols consist of three soldiers, not the dozen I now see before me. I knew they were there before I rounded the corner, of course, but my client wishes for me to make a show of it this time. General Heller must die, yes, but not before I make a laughing stock of the Righteous.

They’re firing at me, as is their job, but I’m just barely too fast for them. I can feel the wind of the bullets passing by me. My first priority is avoid the shots with my body; my arms and legs can move independently. As such, they twist around the paths of the bullets, entering into the slipstreams left behind. If they could see anything more than a blur, they would see an elaborate dance as I weaved myself to the throat of the first soldier. Then the second. The third. The fourth. Right on down the line.

To anyone wondering how I’m so good: Mother loves me.

Time for my third distraction. Remember when I was so certain World War III was right around the corner? The sound of gunfire begins its echoing journey across town. Bombers roar overhead and release their whistling bombs. My client is very particular about the placement of the bombs. Each one aims for their target. Heard of napalm? Meet its new big brother, inferno.

The Nightmare could either stay in his bunker or try to leave. Air travel would be too dangerous, but there were a few choices for getting out by road, despite the inferno. There was only one road that the Nightmare would choose, though, and that’s where I would be.

I kick open the door to a house that would get me to the opposite street. The residents had already gone running out the opposite door, which was a good choice, since an inferno bomb lands on the street I had come from as I close the door. Not to mention they would have encountered me. Never good to meet me.

I make my way to the top floor and step out a window onto the roof just in time to smell the fumes from the Nightmare’s personal vehicle and escort. The thundering of bombs and the rumbling of vehicles feel wholly different. I aim my magnum just so, and pop goes a tire.

I jump from the roof, sheath my magnum, and summon my blades in an instant. Popping the tire doesn’t actually do much more than tell them I’m here, but that’s fine. In the next instant, I attach a form of plastic explosive to the blades and throw them at either escort truck. The advantage of having Schrödinger’s knives? You can’t destroy that which does not exist.

The shockwave from the explosion does two things. First, it sends the trucks hurtling into the ground and turns the guards inside into soup, and second, it keeps me aloft long enough to resummons my blades and toss them into the Nightmare’s wheels like nails, locking him in place. Even if he had been able to drive around the trucks, inferno bombs fell, blocking either side of the street.

No escape.

Just Death.

As I fell, I drew my magnum and shot the driver. This was between the Nightmare and me. I landed on his car and leaned back as he shot through the roof. He couldn’t hear through walls like me. I summoned one of my blades back to me and cut a hole in the roof in one quick motion. Another advantage of the blades; perfectly sharp at all times.

I wait for the Nightmare to run his clip dry and then grab him and throw him out into the road. If it was my choice I would just throw my blade into him, but that’s not what the client wants. I toss him one blade and summon the other behind my back. He catches it, but he’s confused. Skin creaks when it contorts.

I drop down and beckon him, falling into a fighting stance. Stupid, really, I don’t use fighting stances, but whatever will get him fighting. The customer’s always right and all that, right? He falls into his own fighting stance—the one I would expect from a Righteous soldier, which is rather disappointing. I would have liked something at least slightly interesting from someone called ‘the Nightmare.’

We dance. By dance I mean he tries to hit me and I dodge or parry every attack of his and occasionally make an attack that he deflects. Really quite boring stuff. After a few minutes of this dull drudge, I summon my blade out of his hand. Playtime’s over.

I swear, surprise has a sound all its own. Maybe it’s the way the skin creaks, or maybe it’s the eyelids popping open. Something about it is wholly unique. I know it well. The Nightmare isn’t feeling it.

There are few things that worry me in life. One of them is taxes, I let Mother handle that. Another is not striking fear in people’s hearts after I’ve demonstrated my power. That’s not to say that I’m scared by his lack of reaction, just concerned. What does he know that I don’t?

No need to dwell on it, however. Death comes to the terrified and tranquil alike. I stab into the Nightmare’s chest, and he collapses to the floor.

Job’s done, and now to get out. As usual, my client has that covered. A bomb falls into the road just beyond the Nightmare’s corpse, but of course, it’s not a bomb. It’s a rocket that will propel me into the air, and at the apex, one of the planes will catch me. My client and I work well together. We each work with a certain level of precision that just isn’t seen in many others.

I get in, and the rocket closes up. No rocket fires, though. Instead, a speaker in the bomb turns on, and my client explains to me that they can’t risk the ultimate mercenary existing in the war. They fear what they can’t control. My client says they will be terminating me now. The bomb is, indeed, a bomb.

But I won’t be dead long.

To anyone wondering how I’m so good: Mother will bring me back.

Mother will always have her Angel of Death.



So… I moved into my college on Friday. That’s a thing that’s happened. Also, family, apparently this is how you’ll get updates from me, at least for this weekend.

Move in: I moved in, met my roommates, went to some stuff, and my roommates and I spent a good half-hour moving the furniture around in our room. So far, our room has been complimented every time someone comes in or hears that’s where we are and knows it (non-first-years). I would assume that’s because we’re in the basement, the room is fairly big(ger than theirs), and we moved everything around to a better position.

Listened to Stuffs: Blah blah blah stuffs. Most of them weren’t too boring, but for the most part inapplicable to myself, either because of seeing everything as Blink (by Malcolm Gladwell), or because of where I am in my thinking.

People: First, I’m going to summarize my friends from home. They’re awesome. However, most of them don’t game anywhere close to how much I do, don’t consume anywhere near as much gaming news/content, and most that play anything more than mobile games tend to play on consoles, which makes conversations about gaming very difficult to have. Sure, there would be the occasional game we would all have in common and so would be able to talk about, but those were mostly the AAA games, the big, popular, of-course-they-play-it games. Don’t get me wrong, we had plenty to talk about, just not games so much.

Here at college, with over half the class in the creative media division and the largest major being Game Design, there are plenty of people that know what they’re talking about, and know all of the references I use, even to the most obscure of things. It’s really quite awesome, if you couldn’t tell from how I wrote that. I just had a conversation for about 45 minutes about the games industry and where it could go, where it’s been, and where it is. That didn’t happen in high school, except maybe, maybe with one of my friends (sorry to any friends where that just didn’t come up, we’ll have to talk over breaks).

Classes: Haven’t had them yet, but I’m excited for four of them and not not looking forward to the fifth.

Life: In use.

Writing: Due to above, I suspect it will be going better than it has been all summer. Expect [and pray(/hope)] that my writing should return to its productive awesomeness.

Conclusion: Concluded

The Author’s Tale

Preface: This was for my British Literature class, where we had to write a story in the style of the Canterbury Tales, from the perspective of a modern profession. This is mine.

The Author’s Prologue
As I understand it from all these tales,
The human race continues to hypocrisize,
And others still are high and mighty.
Though some of them have shown some promise,
I’m largely disappointed in the human race.
I think I’ll give the elves a try, they seem to have it right.
I’m sure from just that opening you can see
That I am not a harmless madman.
If you’re not but an idiot, I’ll call you out.
If you have no hypocrisy, then that is fine,
But no cause for celebration.
Smart and sincere should be the default,
And only mentioned if one is not.
If you do not try, you are to blame and no one else.


Now, do not take this as insult;
You’re no worse than anyone else.
I’m just as happy on this bus as if I’m off.
I accuse anyone of their hypocrisy, given the chance.
The fairies, they’re alright, but any besides.
I just seldom get the chance to rant
Against the madness of humanity
To the mad humans themselves.
The best I get are imps, and they always listen.


But I’ll not dwell on that much longer,
People tend to yell if I keep at it.
Not that I mind the noise, the dwarves,
They make enough with their incessant hammering,
But yelling leads to hitting, and I’ve enough bruises.
Instead, I’ll tell a tale I think we all will understand,
Of the sloth of man and man of sloth

The Author’s Tale

I start my tale with a man named Lex,
Who as many do, but not too much,
Was oft found on his couch, doing only,
As those of Aegria would do in modern times,
Lay and watched TV, day in and day out.
It did not matter much what it was,
So long as it had a lot of action.
He couldn’t bear to hear the news,
Far too boring for the likes of Lex,
And who needs to know what the world’s about
When you have The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad?


I hope you all are well aware,
That slothfulness is next to devilness,
Or so the saying ought to go.
This man was the worst offender,
The laziest of all humanity,
But do not let that stop you, I’m sure you’ll try
To outdo him in his slothfulness.
But first, hear me out, for before nightfall
He’ll have some visitors you’ll want to know.
Much like Scrooge on Christmas Eve,
Three ghosts he’ll see, but not of time.
They’ll be of warning, no need for sight-seeing.


A rerun of The Walking Dead,
Interrupted when the first one came.
Just after three, the TV crackled and shook about,
But Lex could not be bothered to get up.
Eventually the ghost had given up,
And decided to try another way.
Now the TV came back to life,
With his ex-wife upon the screen, or rather,
Just her image, as this ghost did tend to do.
Lex gave a start, but did not get up,
And then her mouth began to move,
And spoke in a voice like hell itself,
‘Sit up, old lump, and listen well,
This afternoon may be your last
If you don’t heed my warning call.
Tonight’s the night, I’ll let you know,
That wraiths and ghosts are rising
To tell who they meet of their great fortune,
And you ought to know by the image you see,
It’s not good fortune that I bring.
For if you stay at home, upon that couch,
You’ll see another ghastly figure yet.
One last warning for you to hear,
Before the last of three you’ll see.
And if you see the next, then fear,
For Death is knocking at your door.’


With the message said, her face did go,
And back to Walking Dead, Lex went.
He did not heed her warning.
Surely it was but a trick by his ex-wife,
One last try to change his mind,
But he was firmly set upon his ways.
He’d not get up but for a can of beer,
Or maybe an antique bag of chips.


I’m sure by now you people see,
That my story does not cling
To anything you see as real,
For I am part of a bigger game,
One that involves much greater things,
Than tricks by exes and silly wishes.
The ghosts are real, you must have seen them,
But your dull minds just won’t accept them.
Don’t you see, in your eye’s corner,
A glimpse of something not quite there?
It’s men of fae, avoiding eyes.
And all that ringing in your ears,
Is only dwarves, who fashion spears.
Smells you can’t quite place,
Are Kobold kids, cooking considerable cakes.


But back to Lex, not that he’s moved
He’s still on the couch, and now it’s four.
The TV doesn’t change this time.
This time there begins a knock upon his door.
He yells at whoever may be knocking,
‘Go away, I’m not buying!’
But then a shadow creature does appear,
And crosses before the TV’s light.
‘Out of the way, and who are you?’
Shouts Lex, with just a bit of dismay.
‘The second ghost, which you were warned of,’
Replies the ghost in silky tongue.
‘The door is knocking, won’t you answer?
Or do you know it’s Death out there?
He’ll be in here soon enough,
Doors don’t hold him very long.’


Lex did neither want to believe this man,
Nor did he want to die tonight,
As the knocking kept on coming,
So, carefully, he asked his question,
‘If what you say is true, then how do I avoid it?
I don’t believe that Death is here,
It’s just an elaborate trick, of course,
But just in case you tell the truth
What is it that I do to live?’
The shadow laughed its silky laugh,
And shook its blackened head.
‘The only thing to do for you,
Is run away from here at once.
If you’re not here for Death to find,
You may escape his foul mind.
But then, of course, you’re you,
And you don’t run for anything.
You seldom walk, and hardly crawl,
Save for some form of food,
That would make you fat.
I’m sorry, Lex, but for you I know,
Of no way to save your soul.’


With that the shadow did fade away,
But the knocking on the door continued.
Lex did try to move his legs,
In such a way as to run away,
But he never moved them quite that fast
And tripped and fell into the mess
Which filled the room in which he lived.
His femur snapped, and spine collapsed
His neck did crack, his skull, cave in.
Death did not need to enter, for Lex
He came to Death. He sealed his fate
When he had eaten far too much,
And burned that off far too little.


Now you see what folly it is,
To sit around and seldom move.
Sloth is but the second of the worst,
Since the first might cause my death,
But it is still a worthy cause.
Don’t be lazy, be crazy, and run!
There’s an awful lot of running to do.

Winterkin History

Preface: This is a brief history and context for Winterkin, the board game I am making for my college portfolio.

Winter’s not so bad, I think we can agree. Though there’s all the shoveling and traffic, it’s better than freezing in an old, wood hut like our ancestors. Of course, they didn’t have to worry about that too often; winters weren’t annual back then like they are today. When they did come, though, you ran.

They were far worse than even the worst blizzard of today. If you were caught in one, you were dead, no doubt about it. It’s not like the sun was further out or anything back then, but every now and then, every couple of years, winter hit hard. Temperatures dropped to unnatural levels. Of course, it wasn’t natural. It was the Winterkin.

But those are fantastically stories. Surely you don’t want to hear such nonsense? Or perhaps you do. After all, what are old men good for if not stories? You may be grownup, but there’s always room for some truth.

Back in ancient days, before history as we know it, there were many myths and legends. Every myth is grounded in truth, and none more so than the Winterkin, for they existed. Other stories, about elves and trolls, were tricks of the eye, but not the Winterkin.

Everywhere they went was shrouded by wind and cold. When temperatures dropped, Winter was coming. If you had any sense—and believed the stories—you headed straight for Atlantis. No, not that Atlantis, this one didn’t sink beneath the waves.

This one was built in even more ancient times, when Winter was both annual and full of Winterkin. Somehow, we survived, and every year more progress was made on Atlantis. It was inspired by the other Atlantis, which is why the name is the same.

Now, the ones who built Atlantis learned from the original Atlantis how to build a fortress against anything and everything, but it couldn’t hold everyone. The ones who built it remained inside year round, and only admitted people when Winter came. People built huge cities around it, and then fought their way inside at any sign of Winter.

When Winter became rarer, the huge cities surrounding Atlantis slowly dissipated, until Winter, and the Winterkin, were only legends. But Atlantis lived on, and when the next Winter hit, they were ready. They admitted whoever made it, but those were few.

Every few hundred years, Winter would hit again, and the people would learn too late what it meant. In a few families, though, the legend persisted, and they began their pilgrimage upon noticing the drastic temperature drop.

This continued for many centuries, but, like the ancient Atlantis, this Atlantis was overwhelmed. The power to make an invincible fortress only lasted so long, but no one knew until it was too late.

The Undecipherable Smiles

Creative Writing piece that I wrote for my Writing class’s final. It’s just a bit long.


I was out of work at the time. My last job had ended when the kid had entered high-school, as they usually do. I wasn’t in the mood to stick around for the kid’s graduation, so I walked over to the next town over. It was kind of sad how little a difference ten miles made nowadays. Not two hundred years ago that would’ve meant a world of differences.

Anyway, I was looking around for work in my usual places; schools, parks, and the occasional trip to the grocery store. I usually try to figure out if there’s a potential client by how stressed they act. Quick, harsh tone was a good sign. Exasperated was another. But there was a difference in the town I hadn’t seen last time I’d been here. Everyone was such a good actor now.

I almost gave up finding work there, but I had one more way to find work–the old fashioned way. I went door to door, asking if they needed help with anything. I emphasized the anything part. Door after door closed on me, until I was on the last residential street. It was Thursday afternoon, and I had two more days’ worth of money left.

Again, there was nearly no one that wanted my help, but the last house was providential. It was one of the more run down houses of the street, but still paradise for other streets. Its siding was peeling off like paint, and the wooden windows were caked in grime. The front door was probably the cleanest part of the house, and it had a faded cross on it.

I knocked on the door with my quick one, two, pause, three knock. No one answered at first, so I knocked again after the customary fifteen seconds. I was about to leave and move on to the next town, and hope I would be able to find work soon, but just then a young boy opened the door. He was just shy of ten, and had white-blonde hair. He was a very typical cute boy, really.

I could see the kitchen just to the left of the door. It was cluttered and looked like its cupboards had vomited out their contents. Just shy of straight ahead was a steep staircase leading upstairs, and the right of that and ahead was what I presumed was the livingroom. Off to the right was a rotting door that probably led into the garage.

The boy looked at me for a second, and then said, “What do ya’ want?”

“Is your mother or father home?” I replied.

“Yeah, you want to talk to her?” he asked.

“Yes, please.”

He called up the stairs, “Mom! Some guy wants to talk to ya’.”

His mother soon appeared at the top of the stairs. She was frazzled as… well, heck, I suppose. She quickly came down the stairs and whispered something to the boy. He ran up the stairs, and the mother said, “Hello. What do you want?”

She said it curtly, which I could understand based on what little I had seen of her and her house. It was nearly perfect for my work. “I can’t help but notice you seem a bit frazzled,” I replied. She didn’t say anything, so I continued. “I’ve been working as a Mother’s Helper for several years. I recently finished one such job, and have been looking for someone new to help.”

She didn’t look nor sound impressed. “While I could certainly use the help, but I don’t know that I should believe that you have experience,” she said. Then she added in softer tone, “I’m sure you’re a fine gentleman, but I just wouldn’t want to let a stranger into my home.”

“Nor should you.” I thought about telling her of the times I’ve had to deal with such strangers–you can see them a mile off if you know what to look for–but I decided it would be better to just show her my references. I keep a notebook of all my most recent jobs in my backpack, along with a first aid kit, duct tape, and a journal. I pulled the notebook out and said, “These are from my previous jobs in this environment.”

She said nothing as she began to read them. I only had three, since I was supposed to be a teenager, but two of them were pretty lengthy. I thought it was all going pretty well at the time.

But she stopped after skimming them and said, “I’m sorry, I really can’t hire you. Money is tigh-”

But I didn’t let her finish her sentence. My reflexes kicked in when I saw the boy start to come down the staircase at just the wrong angle. As he tripped, I catapulted myself between the mother and the doorframe and halfway up the stairs. I caught him just short of a concussion, or worse. As I set him down at the foot of the stairs, I said to the mother, “I don’t actually need money, a place to stay and meals is all I’m after.”

“You just saved him,” she said breathlessly.

“No, he probably would’ve gotten a concussion, maybe knocked unconscious, but nothing too bad,” I replied. I was lying, partially. He certainly could have broken something, but I wasn’t going to tell her that.

She fiddled with a cross necklace that was on her neck for a moment. “I still don’t know if I can hire you, but I have to repay you somehow,” she said.

“How about you give me a trial run? Put me to work until sun down and then you can decide.”

“Alright, I suppose that’s fair. What sorts of things can you do for me?”

“Just about anything you need. I noticed the kitchen could use some cleaning up, want me to start with that?”

She agreed and showed me in, but not before thanking me immensely for saving the boy. I had missed the thanks my last family had given me. I had missed having a family. Even if this one wasn’t mine yet, it was nice to be able to help out again.

I was almost finished cleaning up in the kitchen. I had noticed a few kids’ drawings on the fridge that looked to be from Sunday School or something similar. It’s always a warning sign when I see such clear signs of religion, but hopefully they wouldn’t be too zealous.

Anyway, I was almost finished when the mother came in and asked, “I’m sorry, but I should have asked this before. What’s your name?”

It was always a tossup as to what name I should use. I never stuck with one for too long. “Isaac Jackson, ma’am.”

“Well, Mr. Jackson, I think I can manage to hire you. You said you only need meals and a place to stay?”

“Yes, ma’am, if that’s at all possible.”

“Well, alright. I’ll go get the guestroom ready.”

Something had been biting at me as I had been working, and I couldn’t accept the job without clearing it up. “Wait, I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t ask this. I’m not the religious type, will that be an issue?”

She smiled. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why she smiled. “Of course not, I’m sure you’ll be fine.” She started to head upstairs. “You can take a break, now, if you’d like.”

I didn’t, though. Since I’m as old as I am, I need to keep busy. People think they learn how to do nothing the older they get, but that’s only true if you’re in pain, which comes with age. For me, doing nothing is impossible. I had a stash of random stuff to do hidden in a tree in front of the middle school. It was mostly climbing and survival gear.

So I kept cleaning up. It was a wonder dinner could have been made without my work. It was one of the worst looking kitchens I’ve ever cleaned, and that’s saying something. I also kept watching because I wanted to make sure I continued to impress.

After another ten minutes of scrubbing at the various stains on the counter, I heard the front door open. I looked over and just barely saw the back of a girl that looked to be around twelve years old. It’s probably a good thing she didn’t see me before heading upstairs where her mother was. That would’ve scared her. I soon heard the mother coming down the stairs, but I decided not to be too observant.

“Didn’t I tell you to take a break?” she said when she reached the bottom of the steps.

I turned before responding and saw she was smiling. “Yes, ma’am, you did,” I replied, smiling back, “But I couldn’t leave the kitchen in such a state.”

She shook her head slowly. “Now, now, how old are you? Must be, what, at least twenty?”

Sure, let’s go with that, I thought to myself. “Yes, ma’am, twenty-two.”

“Well, then, since you’ll be living here for the foreseeable future, you can just call me Mrs. Wolfe. Ma’am is a bit much for me.”

I still haven’t met any 21st century parents that let me call them “ma’am” for very long, so I just smiled and nodded. “Sure, Mrs. Wolfe.”

I started to turn back to continue scrubbing, but Mrs. Wolfe stopped me. “No, no, you can stop now.”

“Well, I’ve got to do something.”

“Why don’t I introduce you to the kids?”

As glad as I was to finally have a family to work with again, that made me all the more glad. I’m sure it showed, because I didn’t need to say anything before she led me upstairs. At the top was a short hallway with three doors, one on each side, and one at the end. The hall was very lightly adorned, with only a few simple paintings next to the left-hand door.

The right-hand room was the boy’s. His name was Jason. He was nine, and was “busy” playing with building toys, which covered the floor, so we went across to the girls’ room. Katherine, or Kate, as she preferred, was also busy, but with homework. I was a little disappointed how little they cared about my existence, but I was sure I could win them over at some point.

Just before we left the room, Kate said, “Oh, Mom, Mrs. Bailey can’t give me a ride tomorrow.”

“Can you get another ride?” Mrs. Wolfe said, obviously a little anxious.

“No, it’s too short notice.”

I looked between the two and asked, “Something I can do?”

“I wouldn’t want to ask you to do anything like this so soon…” replied the mother.

The middle school wasn’t too far away, but the neighborhood wasn’t that great. “I can escort her home if you want. I know the area, it would be fine.”

It took some persuading, but I eventually got her to let me. It wasn’t really that she didn’t want me to; it was just that she was too darn nice about not wanting me to do too much. Kate seemed to see it as bitter sweet. Her mother told me later that night that she enjoyed her after school activity, so she would’ve hated to miss it.

Mrs. Wolfe showed me the guestroom after that. It was the room at the end of the hall. Apparently she slept in Kate’s room, which I thought odd. If you have an extra room, why wouldn’t you use it for what it was meant for? And it did seem more like a parents’ room than a guestroom. It was one of the neatest rooms in the house, and had a double bed, which would be plenty of room.

I’m sure I gave Mrs. Wolfe a workout giving me stuff to do in the meantime. Towards noon of the next day she ran out of stuff for me to do, so I resorted to writing in my journal. There’s no way I would be able to remember everything I’ve done in my life, so I write some of it down. It also gives me a chance to talk about my curse with someone, even if that someone is myself. Finally, though, I left to pick Kate up.

It was a quick walk to the school, and would’ve been a quick walk home if I hadn’t hit an unexpected snag. See, I had been with a family about twenty years ago at this same school, but I didn’t think that would be an issue since that was so long ago. Problem was, the kid had always been into teaching the other kids, so I should have at least seen her career choice coming.

As I was walking with Kate out of the school, one of the teachers came running over. “Matthew,” she exclaimed. “I haven’t seen you in ages! You promised you would visit.”

“Wait–Jenny?” I smiled.

She nodded. “Jennifer now, or, I suppose, Miss Nelson. Is this your latest ward?”

“Yes. I just started work with her family yesterday.” I really hoped she would get the hint. Jenny was one of the few people I’ve told about my curse, and so also one of the few people I worry about running into when I’m with someone who doesn’t know.

“Ah, well I guess I’ll get to see you a bit more now that you’re working here in town again. We should talk some time.” She got the hint, fortunately.

“Yeah, that would be nice.” I gave her a hug and whispered, “My name’s Isaac.”

I couldn’t tell if Kate had noticed the name discrepancy; if she did, she didn’t show it. She seemed to be rather cold. That’s a trait no child should have. I waved goodbye and we made it home just fine after that. As far as I knew, Kate never told anyone about that encounter.

I awoke around two in the morning. I wasn’t entirely aware of what it was, but I felt like something was wrong. I don’t know how I knew, especially since I hardly knew what normal was in this house. I told myself it was nothing, but then I heard footsteps downstairs.

It could’ve been one of the kids, or even Mrs. Wolfe, but it didn’t sound right; too heavy. Just in case, I got up and went downstairs quietly. At the foot of the stairs I could hear the footsteps in the kitchen now. Whoever it was had shoes on, and normally you wouldn’t sleep with any on.

I peeked around the corner and had my fears confirmed. It was a burglar. He was rummaging through the utensil drawer, trying to be quiet about it, but failing. I stepped into the kitchen and he spun around as I said, “You should leave.”

He stared at me quietly. His eyes gave away his age–probably just out of high school–and his fright.  At one time I would have envied him for being brave enough to rob a place, but I now realized the desperation it takes to do this. He looked the part, though; black hoodie and ski mask.

I took a step towards him.

“Stay back!” He hissed and stepped back against the counter.

I took another step forward. “Just surrender now and you can save some time.”

“Back off,” he said, and pulled out a gun from inside his hoodie. It was a 9mm handgun, but I couldn’t tell the model.

“You don’t have to shoot anyone,” I said calmly and took another step forward.

I misjudged him. One shot. Two. The mind goes into overdrive when you’re in a dangerous experience. One hit in my chest, tearing through the top right of my heart. The other went into my left lung, just barely being stopped by the back of the ribcage.

As I fell, I saw the burglar run back through the front door. I went into an effective coma. Anyone else would be dead, or close enough to it. I could see the outside of my body, then. Mrs. Wolfe came down the stairs. She was shocked and immediately made sure the kids didn’t see.

I came out of the coma as she crossed the room to the phone. She picked up the phone and looked back at me as I started pushing myself up.

“Isaac! Are you ok?” She exclaimed.

I managed to groan out, “Don’t call them.”

She lowered the phone, but not all the way. “What? Why?”

I stood up and started to drag myself to the door. “Because I’m not sticking around for them.” I pushed the door open and started limping and running. I made it all the way to the tree infront of the middle school. I used some of the supplies to get the bullets out, and then fell asleep in the top of the tree.

I woke up with a stiff neck and sore chest. I thought about going back to see if the Wolfes were ok, but I didn’t want them to know about me. Instead, I put a coat on to hide the bullet wounds and found a pay phone in a diner to call Jenny’s family, who gave me Jenny’s number. She agreed to breakfast in an hour, and I waited for her there.

I can’t do nothing, except when I’m in pain, which two bullets to the chest tends to do. Then I just sit and wish I had ibuprofen. After about a half an hour, one of the employees asked if I was ok. I would assume I looked like I had a hangover, so I just waved them off after ordering some coffee.

After what felt like ages, Jenny came in and sat across from me. “You ok?” she asked.

“Course I am, but I was shot last night,” I whispered.


“Burglar. He had a gun, and he was scared.”

“Does the family know?” She pushed her hair onto her back. I missed her short hair.

“They know I was shot, but I ran before they could call 911.” I pushed back my coat and showed her the bullet holes. “Both potentially lethal.”

“Ouch.” She grimaced. “But you’re ok, right? Still can’t die?”

“Yes,” I sighed, and after a brief pause continued. “I’m tired of living for hundreds of years and not knowing why. I’m tired of not dying for no reason.”

“Have you asked anyone about it? Like maybe a scientist or a priest or something?”

“Whenever I’ve done that it’s always ended badly. One day I was a prophet, the next, a witch. Nowadays I would probably be an alien.”

“You should give people a chance.” She thought for a bit. “Come with me to church tomorrow, you can ask my pastor.”

“You’ve gone religious? Since when?” I could not see her in church. It would’ve been way to rule-heavy for the rebel kid I used to know.

“Since college. There was this great youth pastor that never gave up on me. So, will you come?” She was so excited. I didn’t understand why.

“I don’t know. I’ll think about it.” It was a stretch to expect me to go, but even more so to ask her pastor about my immortality.

“Need a place to stay?” She was still smiling. It was the same smile Mrs. Wolfe had given me when I asked if my agnosticism would be a problem.

“No, I can get a room at a hotel or something. I’ll figure it out.”

“Ok. On a lighter note, how’ve you been this past two decades?”

We talked for a bit, but then she had to head home. As she left the diner she said, “See you tomorrow morning!”

“I haven’t agreed to that,” I called after her. She just smiled again.

I grabbed some of my survival gear and went for a hike for most of the rest of the day, which also included some safety-less rock climbing. I climbed up into one of the more comfortable trees towards the top of the mountain and got a chance to write in my journal. By the time I fell asleep, I still hadn’t decided whether I would go in the morning or not.

I slept later than usual that night, and instead of outright deciding to go or not, I started down the mountain. I made an agreement with myself that if I got down in time to go to Jenny’s church, I would go, otherwise I would head into a new town to search for a new job.

Lo and behold, I got down just in time for the morning service. Jenny was waiting for me at the door and dragged me by the hand into a seat.

“I haven’t agreed to asking your pastor yet,” I whispered to her.

“Why else would you be here?” She replied before turning and saying hi to another churchgoer.

Because I made a bet with myself, that’s why, I thought to myself. I stood for the singing with everyone else out of respect, but I didn’t sing. Really everything about the service was geared towards people that already believed, especially the sermon. It wasn’t bad, as I recall, but it was all about how Christians should be. It was no use to me. I did notice that the pastor emphasized a good heart, and not good acts, a desire to follow the rules just because. I thought that was good. As he said, “the behaviors are a symptom of the problem.”

After the service, Jenny dragged me up to the pastor and said to him, “Hey, Rich. My friend Isaac has a question for you.”

“Ok, go ahead, Isaac,” he said as he looked at me.

“Can we speak in private?” I asked.

“Sure,” he replied and led us to his office. It had all sorts of stuff spread around; little trinkets from people and places, books, and two nice looking, but ultimately cheap, chairs in front of his desk.

We all sat down and I started the question. I didn’t know how far I would go, but I said, “I can’t die.”

I let the pastor ask for clarification. “That’s not exactly what eternal life means-”

“And I’m agnostic.”


“Last night I was shot; once in my left lung, once in my heart. I’ve fallen off a cliff, drowned, and been run through with a sword. I don’t age, either. I’ve been in the conquest of Britannia, the Thirty Years War, and both World Wars. I can’t die.”

He stared at me for a bit before Jenny chimed in. “It’s true, he’s not crazy,” she said. “He babysat me twenty years ago, and he looked exactly the same. One day we were hiking up a mountain on a narrow path and I slipped. He caught me, but in doing so caused himself to fall. I thought he was dead, but by the time I had walked back down to the bottom of the cliff, he was awake again.”

“So my question for you,” I said to Rich, “Is why? Why can’t I die?”

“Do you want my personal opinion, or my scientific opinion?”

“Science is obviously wrong if I exist.”

“Then I think that God has a plan for you. I don’t claim to know it, but I believe that you are a part of God’s sovereign plan, however frustrating that may be for you.”

“How can you believe that so easily?”

“God gives me the strength to trust Him.”

I didn’t like that answer, nor did I like it the next time I heard it, or the next, or the time after that, but it just kept happening. I would meet someone, I would find out they were Christian, they would find out about me, and then they would give that smile. That oh so impossible to decipher smile. I recently met with Jenny again. She’s 52, now, and has a kid in college. We talked, more this time, especially about God, and I finally figured out what that smile meant. God has a plan for you.