Ozymandias

Excerpts from a lost diary – I

James Nathan’s Notes

Date: 29th July, 1857

This is the age of rumors. I recently heard the rumors that people in some places have suddenly started ageing backwards. Also, I have been hearing rumors about an immortal man. As a man of science, this kind of behavior from people was unacceptable for me. However, I could do nothing sitting in my house. I ventured to the party where I had heard the immortal man was coming who could grant the same immortality to others. This journal is about my first meeting with the immortal man – or as he called himself Keith Parker.

The moment I met Keith Parker, I knew he was different. The way he carried himself showed a certain arrogance that clearly marked him as an uncommoner. However, I also immediately knew that he was mortal. When I “accidentally” cut him, he bled like any other man. He winced like any other human being in pain. Luckily, I had expected this much and had first-aid ready which he accepted readily. No immortal man would find use or need of medicine of such frivolity.

Now, it is possible that all this was a facade by Mr. Parker to stay hidden. And I decided to test that as well. However, in first look, Mr. Parker was as human as anyone I had ever met, and more caring.

Throughout the whole party, he asked about everyone and talked to everyone. Even with the air of a Lord, Mr. Parker considered commoners and non-commoners alike and gave them equal respect. In addition to that, a confidant of mine confirmed that Mr. Parker was readily available during lunches, discounting the theory that he might be a Vampire. I know that I would be able to debunk all theories soon enough.

James Nathan’s Notes

Date: 1st Aug, 1857

Mr. Parker… Keith rather, has become a good friend of mine. He asked for my well being more often than I did for him. He would often say that I was the best thing that happened to this town. And I would humbly accept his compliments expecting him to ask something in return.

“Why are you here, Keith?” I asked him today.

“Why does anyone go anywhere in these troubling my friend. Business.” Keith said smiling. He was as carefree saying the world troubling as he was saying cupcakes.

“What business brings you in this quaint town?” I asked curious. His stay here was of a week, as per the mayor.

“The mayor wants me to protect someone. However, I doubt I will succeeding in saving them.”

“Who’s in danger? How did you find out?” I asked.

“A man who shouldn’t die but for the cruelty of life. I found out through a friend of mine. More of an acquaintance rather. However, as soon as I received the notification about this calamity, I decided to step in. Unfortunately, the mayor is not ready to pay my fees for such protection.”

“That’s why you are afraid that you will fail. Because if you aren’t paid, you will not save the man?” I asked fascinated. I had never met a man who was so clear about what he wanted that he didn’t even care about human emotions.

“Something like that. However, I am sure that the deal will be struck by tomorrow.” Keith said and puffed a pipe. His attempts to smoke were quite novice and showed the youth in him. I would peg him around 25 to 30 years of age.

“I hope so. Poor man. But who’s the person whose life is in danger and who threatens it?” I asked, pushing for an answer. Keith kept puffing without saying anything. He looked pensive, as if he was making a decision on whether to tell me or not. In the end, he caved.

“You, my dear James, are the victim. And death itself is the culprit. Only I can save you now.” Keith said with a sinister smile.

In that moment, I knew that I was wrong. Keith isn’t human. Keith is anything but human.

James Nathan’s Notes

Date: 10th Aug, 1857

The last 10 days have been the most thought provoking and enlightening days of my entire life. My whole belief system is shattered and the way I live is now an old path.

Ten days ago, Mr. Keith Parker told me that I was about to die and only he could save me. That was all he said that day before going. Next day, mayor asked me to join him in his office.

“As Mr. Keith Parker told you last night, your life is in danger and as you are the only physician in the town and nearby area, he wanted to negotiate the price for your life. He has explained to me the details and I wish you could also listen to them.” Mayor said to me with a stern face. His demeanour showed that he wasn’t pleased with the deal he had just made and considered it my fault.

“Mr. Parker. Whatever information you might have on my life, please don’t use it to threaten my town. I don’t wish to be any part of it. In fact, I consider this to be blatant lying to cheat the people of this town.” I said to him point-blank. He remained unfazed. The warmth and the tenderness that Mr. Keith Parker had shown earlier was nowhere to be found. In fact, in that moment, he wasn’t Keith Parker.

“Call me Ozymandias or Oz, if you prefer. Keith Parker is an alias I use sometimes. And you don’t have to worry about anything related to threat James. The price has been paid in half by the mayor already. The second part of the price has to be paid by you and after that, the deal can be sealed.”

“In that case, consider the deal broken as I don’t have any money to give to you Ozymandias.” I said hotly.

“I don’t ask for money my friend. I only ask for a favor. Today, I’m coming in your time of need. If ever a time comes, please do help me. That’s all I ask.” Ozymandias said smiling.

I was taken aback by such a small and humble request from a man who was oozing arrogance. To the extent that I nodded and we shook on it.

“So, how will I die?” I finally asked once the IOU was signed.

“Heart-attack.” Ozymandias said calmly.

“But if it’s this then how will you save me.” I asked. He smiled and took out a letter.

“This will answer all your queries. Or at least the queries I think should be answered. Open it once I am gone. Once I have completed my end of the bargain, a person will come and take the payment. You, James, can vouch for it whether I succeeded or not. Mr. Mayor, you are already here so I suppose you can see it for yourself as well. My advice is that we move to James’ house for this.” Oz said and packed his things. He gave me the letter which I kept in my pocket.

This brings me to today. I woke up yesterday and immediately vouched that I indeed had a heart-attack. It was the most horrific experience of my life and yet, somehow, I am alive. The moment I died, Mr. Mayor told me, Oz shook hands with Mr. Mayor and told him that he would exchange his life for mine. Saying this, he died. Mayor told me that I started breathing immediately after. It took me several days to wake up and in this period, Oz’s body was taken away and his friend came to take the payment.

I don’t know how to explain this with science. However, I hope that someday, someone is able to explain what happened. In that case, these notes might come in handy.

Poor Oz was not an immortal man. But he was a true friend. He was my savior.