This afternoon, when the bells of the Teletype rang and delivered the news like a miracle, men of all latitudes were confused in a single shriek of triumph. Just as it had been predicted two hundred years earlier, man had finally conquered immortality in the year 2168.
Every loudspeaker, every image, every media outlet proclaimed this grand biological revolution. Naturally, I too was happy in this moment.
How long we waited for this day!
An injection of one hundred cubic centimeters had been all that was needed to never again face death. A single injection, applied every one hundred years, guaranteed that no human body would ever decompose again. From this day on, only an accident would be capable of ending a human life. This was a farewell to sickness, to old age, to the death of natural causes.
A single injection, every one hundred years.
Until the second notice came, clarifying the first. The injection would only be effective for those less than twenty years old. No one who had progressed past this age would be able to prevent his or her own internal decomposition. Only the young would become immortal. The government had already prepared to organize the delivery and distribution of the injection to every child in the land. Space shuttles would carry vials of the injection to the furthest terrestrial colonies in space.
They would all be immortal.
Except us, the eldest, the fully-formed, in whose organism the seed of death had already been definitively implanted.
All the young would continue living indefinitely. They would be immortal and in fact, another species of animal. Already inhuman; their psychology, their perception, and their perspective, were radically different from ours. Immortal, all of them. Eternal keepers of the universe. Liberated. Fecund. Like Gods.
But no, not us. We, the men and women more than twenty years old, will be the last moral generation. We will be the farewell, the goodbye, the bag of bones and blood that flutters, for the last time, above the earth’s countenance.
No, not us. Abruptly marginalized, as if all the remaining grandparents had suddenly been converted into the residents of a home for the elderly, confused rabbits frightened amongst a race of titans. Suddenly, these youngsters became our inadvertent executioners. We were no longer their parents. From this day, we were something else, something sick and repulsive, illogical and monstrous. We were known as The Ones Who Will Die. Those Who Wait For Death. They shed tears, hiding their scorn, mixing it with happiness. With an innocent joyfulness they expressed their certainty that now, yes now, everything would be all right.
All we could do was wait. We would watch them grow, become beautiful, continue being young, and prepare themselves for the second injection, a ceremony-that we would not see-whose religious character would become self-evident. They would never find themselves with God. The last consignment of souls, on course to the beyond, was ours. Now, how much could it cost us to leave the earth! How death would take us gnawing with sorrowful envy! How many urges to kill would fill our souls, from today, until the day of our deaths!
Until yesterday. When a fifteen year old boy, his body with the injection, decided to commit suicide. After the news arrived, we, the mortals, began to love and understand the immortals.
Because they are the poor, young and formless tadpoles condemned to a perpetual prison on the pond of life. Perpetual. Eternal. And we began to suspect that inside of ninety-nine years, on the day of the second injection, the police will be looking for thousands of immortals in order to impose eternity upon them.
And the third injection, and the fourth, and the fifth, and the sixth; each time with less volunteers, and so on until more of these eternal children will be implored to evasion, the end, salvation. The hunt will be dreadful. They will always be miserable.
But no, not us.
»Jose B. Adolph (1985)
»With translation by @N. David Pastor