“How would you like to be immortal?” The question rang through the room, causing the listener’s heart to beat faster. Immortality–it seemed like something that everyone was chasing after, especially this man, Gabriel Carlin.
“Well, I should probably correct that statement,” The man in the suit chuckled as he leaned forward across the desk, bringing his face merely inches away from Gabriel, “How would you like to be the first person to travel through time?”
As this exchange took place, thousands of miles away was a young woman, whose name changed as she pleased. During this year, she chose to go by the name of Anastasia, although to be honest, it was getting old.
On this same day, seven hundred years ago, Anastasia stopped aging. No one knew how or why, she just stopped. It took a few years for her to notice, but by the time she looked younger than her children, she knew something was wrong.
Besides the aging part, it seemed as if Anastasia–then Elizabeth–just couldn’t die. Over the span of the past hundreds of years, she had tried plenty of times just to see if her immortality had ended, but it seemed that the universe was intent on her staying put.
It was an interesting time to be immortal, as it was just around when the Black Plague began to settle in Europe. After catching it and being one of the few to survive, Anastasia knew that she needed to make a disappearance. People were beginning to suspect things after her children’s hair began to turn gray and she still appeared as vibrant and youthful as ever, but being one of the few survivors of the plague was drawing too much attention to her.
So she disappeared.
In the blink of an eye, Anastasia had vanished from England and moved to a new country, where she assumed a brand new identity and started her life all over again. This pattern continued constantly–as soon as someone began to suspect something was off with her, Anastasia left and restarted her life in somewhere new.
To combat the loneliness of the first few hundred years, Anastasia tried her hand at being a queen, or a cruel dictator, or even a peasant. It wasn’t that she was poor like a peasant was–she had acquired plenty of wealth over the years–she was just bored of being herself.
If Anastasia had been asked the question of whether or not she wanted to be immortal, the answer would be a definite no. How could anyone willingly choose to subject themselves for this life filled with misery and loneliness? She had outlived her children by centuries–something that she was still trying to wrap her head around.
The only thing Gabriel Carlin wanted was to be immortal. Imagine being able to live through all of the major events in history–and survive. It was his dream life, and time-traveling was the closest he could get.
He fastened the strap of his tunic, wearing the appropriate attire to take him to ancient Rome. Who could blame him? It was only natural that the first thing he wanted to do was visit the Romans–and besides, he figured that if he got stuck there, it wouldn’t be the worst place to die.
The time machine booted up and let out a loud beep, signaling that it was ready for action.
“Are you ready?” The operator asked, double-checking that the traveler was sure of his decision. This had never been done before, and it was very likely that it would lead to nothing but death.
Gabriel nodded, “Yep.”
The machine lit up as the operator pushed a few buttons and flipped some switches, the loud hum growing louder and louder with each second that passed by. In a blink, Gabriel was gone.
Anastasia never thought about the past, she always thought about the future. Surely, at some point, humans would develop the technology to reverse her immortality. At least, that was what she constantly told herself.
She did her best to be wherever the action was happening. Thanks to her large sum of money acquired over centuries, that did not prove to be a difficult task. Even back in the days where airplanes and cars didn’t exist, Anastasia still had enough money to bribe people to let her onto their ship or to push their horses to the breaking point to transport her where she needed to go.
It was the only thing that kept life interesting–Anastasia had already been a mother, and she had no remaining desire to settle down somewhere and spend the rest of her years there. Besides, it was entertaining to watch all of the mistakes that humans made–and watch them grow from it.
The first time Anastasia and Gabriel crossed paths was during the 15th century, when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. Anastasia didn’t even intend to be there solely to witness its fall–she had been living for the past twenty years in Constantinople, enjoying the Mediterranean climate as opposed to the harsher seasons that she had experience in other places in the world.
Gabriel, on the other hand, fully intended to be there. After growing attached to the Roman empire after spending the past weeks enjoying life as a citizen in ancient Rome, he felt it was his duty to watch the capital of the Byzantine empire fall.
Their interaction was quick–they bumped into each other on the streets as Gabriel ran toward the action, knowing what was about to take place, and Anastasia ran away, completely oblivious and wanting nothing more than a refreshing nap.
That first crossing of paths led to many more, as Anastasia constantly found herself in the midst of the action, and Gabriel was always trying to travel there to experience history first-hand.
“Do I know you?” Anastasia asked as they ran into each other for the third time. His face was easily recognizable and her heart skipped a beat, thinking that there might be someone else cursed with immortality.
“Are you a time traveler too?” Gabriel asked, squinting at her. He certainly recognized her and their interactions had taken place over hundreds of years–something unable to be accomplished by normal humans.
“Time traveler?” Anastasia looked confused, “Wait, you can travel through time?”
Now Gabriel was confused, “How else would you be able to witness all of those things and live to tell the tale?”
Silence settled in as the two looked at each other, clearly recognizing that neither of them were normal, but unsure of how to proceed.
“I stopped aging in the 1300s,” Anastasia finally commented, “Can you really travel through time?”
Gabriel nodded, “Yeah, I’ve been traveling for the past couple of years,” his voice trailed off as he processed what she had said, “Wait, so does that mean you’re immortal?”
And thus marked the beginning of their everlasting friendship. Anastasia knew that a major event was about to take place when she crossed paths with Gabriel again, and she always made sure to fill him in on the happenings in the last decades.
It was a lonely life, being immortal, but having a time traveler as a friend made it significantly more bearable.
Now, instead of looking to the future for possibilities to end her long life, Anastasia looked to the future with hope. Maybe one day she would be able to experience the same technology Gabriel was gifted with and go back to rewatch her children grow up, or revisit childhood friends.
Gabriel also looked to the future with hope. Although he could travel through time, he was still aging. Maybe one day he would be able to become immortal as well, so not only would his dream come true, but he would also have a good friend to experience the rest of eternity with.
As time continued to pass, their hope continued to grow. If they were lucky, one day, all of their wishes might finally come true.