Another day, another sunrise. The clouds obstructed the sun this time around, a wispy disguise that barely hid the light. I finished my cigarette and flicked it off the balcony, watching as it fell to the ground below. Gia’s voice rang in my head, berating me for the discarded trash. “Don’t litter! We only have one Earth, Adam!”
I chuckled to myself. Sometimes, I missed her nagging…
Walking back into the hotel room, I looked at my notes hung up on the wall. The Cursed Man had been in this city longer than expected, and I knew it was time to finally face him. I hadn’t even caught his name all those centuries ago, but I knew it didn’t matter. Being alive this long, it was normal to change aliases. I had been through plenty myself. There was no way he had the same name as he did when I helped him escape.
Honestly, I could barely remember the escape. I was a guard in Rome, watching the prisoners waste away in the cave we threw them into. The Cursed Man worked his way into my mind, convincing me to help him escape. I had nothing to lose; I hated being cruel to the prisoners unlike the rest of my peers. There was nothing for me in Rome, either. My family had long since died, and I had been truthfully looking for an escape.
How we escaped, I do not remember. All I remembered was the blood oath. I could never forget it. “As long as I shall live, you shall also, my brother,” The Cursed Man declared, our bloody hands clasped together. “This is my oath to you.”
I had no idea he really meant it. This man was an Immortal, something I had only heard about in whispers and dreams. How was I to know that he was giving me his curse?
I picked up a flier for the show tonight that I had torn from a lightpost: “Led Zeppelin In Concert. The Supershow of the Year!” The Cursed Man was going to be at this show. Over the millennia, one thing was consistent…he loved music. When captive, he used to sing to the other prisoners to ease their suffering. It sure helped the time pass as their guard.
This band was the biggest band in the world, so there was no way he wasn’t following them through America, especially tonight. I had to try to find him in the crowd.
Wasting the day away was easy. I walked around the humid city of Tampa, smoking and window shopping, until finally the sun began to make its way towards the horizon. The stadium was already swamped with people. Young adults already drunk, smoking cigarettes and sneaking their weed into the arena, and older men, grouped up together, watching all of the young girls run towards the lines. Lots of tie dye and beaded ponchos and all other sorts of crazy outfits I could never pull off surrounded me. I looked out of place in all black, but I didn’t care. I didn’t come for the concert.
It was hard to remember what the man looked like. We were similar in age, from what I remember, and he was olive-skinned. That was unfortunately all I could remember about him. I rubbed the palm of my right hand, feeling the scar of the blood oath. Presumably, his left hand would have the same scar.
I walked around the venue, ignoring all of the hippies and their excitement. There were so many people, it was hard to get through them all. As I passed by a huge crowd of people, I noticed a woman who looked like Gia. There was no way that she could be her, however. Gia was long gone. But this woman was just as beautiful. She was smoking against the wall, talking to another woman casually. My eyes lingered on the lookalike for a little too long, but I couldn’t help but stare. She sent me back into a day where my beloved was still alive…
“Looks just like someone from back then, does she?” I froze. That voice was gruff and familiar. I was hesitant to look away. “It’s okay,” the man behind me said. “She is quite beautiful. I get caught up in the past sometimes too.”
I spun around and looked at the man behind me. His eyes were positively sparkling, and his skin was leathery but olive toned. Full beard peppered with white and a bald head to go along with it, he was older than I remembered, but with his hands up, his left hand was a dead giveaway. “You’re The Cursed Man,” I gasped.
He frowned. “My friends call me John, but that works too, I guess.”
“No,” I started, shaking my head. “I’ve been looking for you all this time, and you just…appear behind me?”
“If it makes you feel better, I’ve been looking for you too. You’re kind of hard to find.”
“Me?!” I couldn’t help but laugh. “I’ve been looking for you since we parted! How could you have not found me by now?”
“Time gets in the way of desire,” the man, John, said. “I’ve lived a thousand lives, and in this one, I finally decided that it was time.”
There was a pause in which we looked at each other. I was so confused. “Time for what?” I finally asked, narrowing my eyes.
John smiled. “For me to apologize.” I blinked at him for a moment before he continued. “I didn’t tell you that I was an Immortal before I gave my blood to you. You were an innocent man who I exploited for freedom, and for that I’m sorry.”
“Why did you do it?” I stepped towards him, voice low. “Why did you curse me?”
He shrugged. “I knew I wasn’t going to die in that cell. There was no way. The only way I could die would be to find another Immortal and have them do the deed. Starvation wouldn’t claim me like it did the other prisoners.” He paused as a large group of concertgoers passed. Once they were gone, he continued. “I thought by using you, eventually you’d be able to help me die.”
It was my turn to frown now. “Does that mean you want me to kill you?”
John laughed. “No, not right now.” He pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and held it to his mouth. “Maybe someday soon, but not right now. I have to watch this concert first, you know.”
I pulled out my lighter and lit him up, grabbing my own cigarette and lighting up as well. “So, why now? Why decide that you want to see me now, after all this time? We’ve been alright being apart.”
“This is true,” John said. “But don’t you want someone to spend time with who knows your pain? I’ve been alive a lot longer than you, brother. I could teach you everything you need to know to transfer this curse to someone else, someone who won’t die when we do. Someone who can carry the curse so that we can rest in peace.”
This all sounded ridiculous. He was crazy…but it had been such a long time since I was truly happy. “My obsession with finding you has driven me for centuries,” I said in between drags. “What makes you think I want to be your friend after all this time?”
“What do you mean?” John asked, clearly wanting to hear what I had to say.
My voice was shaking, but I tried to keep it low. “You ruined me. Everyone I’ve ever known has always died, always left me behind. My father died in war, my mother died in childbirth. My young brother died thanks to disease. I was alone for so long, and Caesar gave me something that I never had…I had a family in those soldiers.” I took another drag of my cigarette. “I hated my job, but I loved those soldiers. And you…tricked me. Told me I would be better off helping you escape the cave we threw you into.
“You think sorry is going to cut it?” I asked him now. “You think I’m just going to follow you blindly to curse another poor person to live forever?? Every few years my heart breaks all over again. I can’t help but fall in love because I hate being alone, and now I’ve lost my Gia…I can’t help but blame you for this heartache.”
John sighed, looking away from me. “I guess I would be grateful to you if you accepted my apology. What I did was wrong…”
“It was cruel!” I spat at him, trying desperately to keep my voice down. “You cursed me to a life of loss.”
“I know, I know,” John said sadly. “Now that I have had time to think about it, I wish I could’ve done things differently for you. I really do.”
“So, why now?” I asked. “Why do you need me now? To subject another to this pain? I won’t do it.”
“Alright,” John sighed, looking back up at me. His eyes were sorrowful. “That’s understandable. Will you do this for me, then?”
I snorted. “What could you possibly ask of me?”
“Stay with me through this concert, and I will end it for the both of us. I think it’s time, don’t you?”
“You won’t curse another? You’ve suddenly changed your mind?” John shrugged, and I backed away. “You are trying to deceive me again, I know it.”
“No, I’m not,” John insisted. “Please, just listen…”
“I won’t,” I cried, and I started walking into the crowd. I wouldn’t hear what he had to say any longer. Why did I follow his trail all my life…why did I dedicate myself to finding him? I should’ve known that he would only continue to try to cheat me.
I shoved my way through the crowd and out into the evening air. There was no way to break the curse, no way. I could feel it in my bones. As I walked, I wondered if the sea would end me, but decided not to try. If I couldn’t drown, I might just be stuck down there on the ocean floor. The thought didn’t sit well in my mind.
So I just continued to get away from John until I got to my hotel room. I had a feeling that he would try to follow me after the concert was through, and I had no desire to talk to him any more. I knew I had to leave and try to find another thing to live for.
The past few centuries were nothing but a waste. Time to start over.
Thanks for reading, y’all! I thought I’d try my hand at this writing prompt I found on Pinterest. Hopefully you like it! I wrote it all in one go, and I know it’s not 100% polished, but I kind of like the idea of a ‘timed essay’ style rough prompt from time to time. So hopefully you’re here for it too! I also really like this prompt, so if I come back to it and turn it into something deeper, you guys will be the first to know!
If you would like to suggest any prompts or have any ideas you’d like to see me write, go on ahead and let me know over on Twitter! Let me know if you liked this prompt, and tell me if you’d like me to make it into a series or something bigger as well! I don’t just write for myself, after all. If you like it, I’ll polish it up all nice for ya. See y’all next week!