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.

Ozymandias

Legend of Ozymandias

“It’s time to die.” Jessica sighed looking at the watch. She shut her eyes and remembered all the good things that had happened in her life and all the mistakes she had made.

At 30, Jessica had seen it all. She was rich, beautiful and famous. In every interview she had ever given, she claimed she would never change a single thing. But now, today, she wondered if she should have said yes to that farm boy who loved her like crazy. Whether she shouldn’t have accepted that nude scene offer that led her to five years in porn. Whether she should have not had that abortion. And biggest of all, whether she should have attempted suicide.

It was only 15 minutes ago that she had taken the pills and their effect was just starting. So was her panic.

She frantically reached for her phone and dialed. A slightly high pitched cheerful voice replied.

“Help!” She said in a high pitched scream.

“Call 911.” The voice replied in a calm tone.

“But.. But.. you said..” She blabbered.

“911” The voice said and cut the phone.

Jessica looked at the phone horrified. She was feeling extremely drousy and could barely see the numbers anymore. She knew that she wouldn’t make it. She dialled the numbers 9,1 and 1 and then dropped her phone. Her eyes closed.

Jessica woke up with a gasp. She coughed and felt sharp pain in her hand. She looked and saw a needle in her arm, attached to a drip. She looked around and captured the setting she was in currently.

She knew she was in a hospital room. The room was mostly empty except for the table on the side that contained a vase with daisies. There was an envelope under tha vase. She tried but couldn’t reach it. On the other side of the bed, machines were making a whirring sound acknowledging her life.

She was alive!

It struck her that she had made it. Her foolishness won’t cost her anything. She sighed and coughed again.

The nurse came to the room.

“You are lucky to be alive.” She said in a very stern tone. She reminded Jessica of her great-aunt. Stern, caring and rough around the edges. Jessica was beside her when she passed. Today, it felt the roles had reversed.

“How did I?” Jessica started.

“Drink some water first.” The nurse said and pulled her up a bit. Jessica took a gulp and then swallowed it in multiple attempts.

“How were you even able to take those pills? You can barely drink water properly.” The nurse said shaking her head.

“I am sorry.” Jessica said instinctively. The nurse looked at Jessica pursing her lips. Jessica read the name on the tag – Monica Jefferson.

Nurse Jefferson checked the monitors once.

“We had actually lost you. When you were found, you were barely breathing. We tried to induce vomit but it didn’t work. In fact, your heart stopped when you were here. Doctor even called the time of death for you. Then, after five minutes, you started breathing again. Slowly, you came back. We don’t even know how that happened. All the drugs in you flushed around 18 hours ago. Took 12 hours. But now, you are fine. You are lucky that you didn’t have any organ injury. If all goes well, you should have a normal life.” Nurse Jefferson said.

“I died?” Jessica said shakily.

Nurse nodded. “But you are fine now. Oh! And you had a visitor too. Fine young man. Really polite.”

“What was his name?”

“William something. He left you these flowers and this note. He was very happy to hear that you were fine.” Nurse said looking at the flowers fondly.

“Can you please pass me the note?” Jessica requested. She had never heard the name William but the name could be an alias or a friend of his.

Nurse picked the note and gave it to Jessica.

“You should be fine in a couple of days. You’re out of danger and we are only keeping you for monitoring.” Nurse Jefferson said while helping Jessica sit.

“Thank you Nurse Monica.” Jessica said and smiled at the nurse.

“Take care.” Nurse said and smiled. Once she was gone, Jessica opened the letter and started reading it.

The letter

Jessica,

If you are reading this, then, I am dead!

I love saying that line. You are alive and soon, you would be well. I asked you to call 911 because you can be cared for in a hospital only. My friend William will visit you and help you through the transition. Also, you can ask him how to pay for my service.

It’s your second life and I hope you enjoy it better than your first one.

– Ozy

PS – Now, two people have died for your sins. 😉

PPS – There are a list of rules as there always are. Check the back of this letter.

She laughed a little reading the letter – a laugh of relief. He had come through. She turned the letter and started to read the rules. Her expressions changed with every sentence. She was smiling reading the first line and by the time she reached the end of the letter, she was horrified and scared. Tears had started to flow from her eyes.

“I should have died.” Jessica said crying into her pillow.

Ozymandias

Excerpt From Ozymandias’ Diary – I

It was only at the last moment that I realised that I would die either way. Probability is a funny thing. If you know the outcome and it’s bad, you will almost always regret the choice you made and it would seem obvious that the other choice was better.

For me too, probability played its game. Unfortunately, in my case, both the outcomes were the same.

Anyways, goodbye guys! It was nice talking to you.

Oh! I’m sorry. I forgot to give you the context.

My name is Ozymandias and I am a professional dier. And no, I am not interested in dyeing your clothes or hair. But if you are about to die and you don’t want to die just yet, I will take your place instead in the sweet embrace of death. You will get a full lifetime – which would be equivalent of what you have lived till now.

There is of course, a catch. Basically, you would start ageing backwards. For example, if you were to die at 50 and I took your place, you would start going back to 0. The reason, as per Death is that no one should cheat death twice and I can’t take your place when you are a baby.

There is only one of me, as far as I know. And other than the growing younger part, I don’t know any other repercussions (Death isn’t too chatty).

So, that’s my resume. My fee is high, obviously, and it is not always money. So, if you don’t have money but you want to live, please do give me a call. I might still take your place for appropriate fees. I’m extremely generous to pregnant women (fortunately, you and your kid count as one till the little bugger comes out so Yay! for that).

So, yeah, where was I?

Ah yes! I’m about to die. If I had played my cards right, I would have received a ton of money but I am going to lose it all.

So, a loaded dude told me he was about to die. A 25 year old, rich kid who has no history of any disease! Was I really supposed to believe him? I couldn’t waste my time with him.

Oh shit! I forgot to tell you this part. If I make a pact with someone, I can’t take another case until that person dies. So, the faster a client is supposed to die, the better for me.

Coming back, this idiot kid tells me that he’s about to die and I should take this case. I laugh at his face and reject his case. He told me that if I take his case, he would give me ten times my usual fee. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was tempted. But then I rejected his offer.

Instead, I took the offer of a woman of seventy who wanted to live till she sees a grandson. She didn’t have much money but she did scamper about half of my fees. And boy did she die fast. Heck! She was barely able to sign the document when she had a heart-attack and fell off the window.

Good deal I made, right? WRONG!

The saintly old lady fell straight on a 25-year old guy. Ring any bells? Yes! The guy who thought he was about to die and was offering me 20 times what I got paid.

“Oh dear! False alarm. It was just a flutter,” said the lady and walked away.

It was heart-wrenching to see the old lady stand up and walk away smiling while the goldmine dude lay there dead.

Later, Death told me that the dude had asked some fortune-teller and she had told him about his fate.

“Wow! The fortune-teller was able to predict it right?”

“Nah. Coincidence.” Death said while taking me.

Damn! Black Swans.

Anyways, goodbye. Till we meet again.