Once, some time ago, there was born a baby boy. When he was born his mother died shortly after. However, as she sat, holding her baby boy she whispered into his ear and said, “Live forever, and don’t die like your poor mother.” So the boy lived and the mother died. He lived strongly. Nothing could kill him. He, as a toddler, feared nothing, not even pain, because that was the final consequence to his actions. He would touch hot stoves and be completely unscathed and he would dive off high places only to be just fine.
The boy loved his life and he would do things no other child around him would dare. So he grew, in the care of his father, brash and uncaring. Nothing could kill him, nothing could stop him. He was a perfect human. He could not be stopped by death; he feared nothing, because a human can only fear death. Growing up he found that he could not relate to the others around him. As a toddler the other children feared him, for he was fearless. The trend continued as he grew. In kindergarten he was honest, truthful, and reckless. Nothing could hurt him, because he couldn’t die.
As he grew so did his carelessness. Death is a funny thing, for it made everyone else careful, it makes them wary. So he went around, picking on others, anyone. It didn’t matter if they were popular, nerdy, big, or small. He picked on them all because he did not fear them. No one, however, would pick on him, because the boy who couldn’t die seemed dead to them.
Soon he made a habit at recess to demonstrate his power to everyone around him. Daily, he would climb as high as he could go and jump, head first into the ground. At first, the teachers were terrified, but soon they found that no matter how many times he fell he never showed the slightest bit of pain.
Time went by and the boy began to insult his peers less and withdrew from them more. As the others were making friends, becoming as close to boyfriend and girlfriend as middle-schoolers can, playing at recess, pestering their teachers, and much more, the boy grew silent. Every day he would go out to recess, climb as high as he could and stare at the clouds above him, and watch them meander across the azure expanse above him. In class, teachers would ask him questions and he would ignore them. He knew the answers, because time seemed to flow slowly for him. He knew more than the other students, so it wasn’t worth his time to even answer the teacher’s questions.
The teachers tried to bring the boy’s father in. The father would shrug and say, “What do you want me to do? He has no fear. He cannot die, so you cannot do anything to him.”
They sent him to special teachers and schools, and they tried everything. They offered him sweets and they screamed at him or beating him. Nothing fazed him. Pain meant nothing to him. All the pain in the world could pass through him and he wouldn’t even bat an eye, because pain means much less when you can’t die. The warning that pain gives is a dull knock on the door.
They boy entered high school and started to think about how different he was from the rest of the people around him. They all cowered and feared thinking, “What does this person think about me?” “What if he or she doesn’t like me?” “I don’t want to go home, because my Dad beats me.” “I hate my parents, they never let me do anything.” Fear consumed them all.
The boy didn’t fear other people, though, because they meant nothing to him. They would die, and he wouldn’t. They couldn’t hurt him. He didn’t fear anyone at all, even his father, even his rules. Rules meant nothing because there were no punishments. Even if he went to jail a life sentence only lasts so long. He couldn’t be stopped. He would live forever. Days were flashes, years were blinks. His life hitherto seemed like nothing more than a walk down the street.
He never found anyone to love him either. He had no need for love, for it was just based on fear, fear that the other wouldn’t love you back, or they would betray you. But he couldn’t be hurt, so he couldn’t love. There were infinite people in the world that he could love, from then on there would be infinite number of people on the world. They would all pass away and leave him alone.
He felt no solidarity in this world filled of aliens. He and they were not the same. They didn’t even look the same, he didn’t have a single blemish. His skin was flawless, unbroken by scars or the acne that riddled his peers or tired lines from lack of sleep. He didn’t need that either. Sleep, food, breathing, they all meant nothing to him. He didn’t need to breathe, he could go forever without eating and sleeping. He ate only to pretend to be a human, he had long since given up sleep, and he often found that he forgot to breathe.
His senior year of high school came and he sat in his chair on the first day of school, staring out the window into the azure gap beyond him. The room filled with the aliens that inhabited this fragile world. No one glanced at him, because they had been all too accustomed to the freak show who never spoke. Long ago they gave up on pestering him or asking him to play some prank that they, themselves, were too afraid to do. By now they knew that if they spoke to him they would only receive a blank stare that looked right through them.
The last person to come into the room was a girl, completely normal in every sense of the word, but not homely by any means. She was escorted by the principal who walked with her over to the teacher perched at her desk in the front of the room. With an exchange of a few words the principal left saying, “This is your home room. I hope you enjoy your first day at our school.” Then the alien left. More words were exchanged between the student and the teacher and the teacher gestured towards the boy and directed the girl to sit there, because there was no one sitting by the boy, unsurprisingly.
She walked to her desk and took a seat and looked around the room. A few of the kids gave her looks of pity and gestured to the boy behind her. Looking back, the girl saw a boy with an absolutely perfect countenance, framed by long, untamed, dark hair. Without thought her mouth opened slightly, taking in the sight behind her. The lack of care plastered on his perfect appearance as the only mar to his beauty.
She turned back around, embarrassed that she stared at the boy in such an obvious way, and found some of the other kids chuckling at her, the girl who didn’t understand the boy, the alien, like they had. Jarred by their snickers, annoyance overcame the girl. She balked at the rudeness of her new peers, who seemed to pick on this boy for no reason. She gave a few kids glares and they shrugged and looked away, uninterested with the anomaly that was in their class every year.
So the girl, convicted by the others, turned to the boy and said, “What was that all about?”
The boy did not turn towards her, he knew her and her kind. The new kids always made an attempt to speak with him at least once. They could never understand him, though. They were different beings. It’s like a human claiming to understand God – impossible. They operated under a different set of rules. So he ignored her, sparing her the annoyance of coming in contact with a being of such superiority.
So the girl turned around and wondered if the boy was deaf. Later, she asked around and found out the truth, from the others. She interest gripped her for the boy who sat behind her, much in the same way young girls are gripped by fantasy in the most drastic ways. Her sense of adventure was sparked and she was insistent on knowing this mysterious creature. Every day she would introduce herself to the boy, and every day she would receive nothing in response. For thirty-nine days she solicited the boy, and thirty-nine times she received nothing in response.
The Fortieth day was different, however. When she turned to introduce herself to the boy she held out his index finger to silence her. He gave her a glare, riddled with the fierceness of a creature that has no fear of death. A short growl came from his throat as he said in a voice a clear as a bell, “You sit here every morning, you have turned your head over your left shoulder thirty-nine times to introduce yourself to me and thirty-nine times you have been met with no response. However, I am not naïve enough to believe that you have no idea who I am, or what I am. So, why don’t we skip the formalities and tell me, what do you want?”
The girl, shocked by both the boy’s straightforwardness and beautiful voice, stared back at the boy with wide eyes. She had no idea what he had said to her, she was so shocked. She had gotten to the point where she was just asking the boy as what she now realized was a sick game. She gathered her thoughts and said with a shaky voice, “I don’t know, I just thought you might be a little lonely and I wanted to know if you wanted to talk sometime.”
Silence buzzed in her ears. The entire class stared at them. Even the teacher leaned towards them with wide eyes. Not a single one of them had heard the boy speak for years; the boy’s words had dwindled into nothing. They were all entranced by the moment and wondered if the boy would say anything more at all. They were in luck, as the boy responded to the girl curtly, “Maybe later.” He punctuated his sentence with a sigh and he turned towards the window and looked back at his only friends, the puffs of white that danced across the blue sky, because they too, never died.
Later that day, when the girl was walking to her car she found the boy sitting on the ground in front of the driver’s side door. Startled, the girl tried to regain her composure and breathed a sigh before she walked over to the boy. With a smile that might have been forced, she greeted the boy and he stood up and nodded his head at her. “Hurry up and unlock your doors, you don’t want everyone else to know that you’re talking to me,” he said as he walked over to the passenger’s side of the car and got in after she unlocked it.
“So,” the girl said, her voice shook as she beheld the alien before her in full view, “what do you want to talk about?” She forced another smile at the boy and laughed a nervous chuckle.
“I don’t know,” the boy said with a sigh and he rolled his eyes. “I guess I was just wondering what it would be like to talk to someone, but it seems like it was just as pointless as I thought it would be. You aren’t like me, so it’s like me talking to someone who speaks a completely different language.” With that he exited the car, and as he did the girl grabbed his arm and said, “Wait.” A shiver roared down the boy’s body as the feeling of skin on skin rocked his mind. He tore his arm away from the girl in a fury and stormed off. The girl brought her hand back to her chest and held it over her heart as she realized that through that touch she had communicated with the boy more than she could even understand.
Months passed and their interactions grew until they were around each other each day. Day after day they would spend time with each other. Then, as it is with teenagers, the girl fell in love. She saw goodness in the boy who couldn’t die. He lost his alienness and became a human to her and much like a teenager in love, she ignored her friends.
One day she decided that she would tell the boy just how she felt. She walked up to him, pressed her hand against his chest and spoke three words that the boy had never heard. “I love you,” she said. The boy stepped back, pushing the girl away. His stomach retched and he felt uncomfortable for the first time in his life. He jumped back, and ran off.
He ran for a while, wondering why, for the first time he was tired. His limbs felt heavy and then he tripped. He put out his hand and pain ran up his arm and his palm scraped against the ground. He looked at his hand, and blood dripped from it. He saw his blood for the first time, ever.