My cadaver is taken to the morgue, but I don’t know that because I think I’m going to the hospital.
I don’t notice any sensations other than pushing, punching or pulling, and then only because they move me slightly. My eyes don’t see and my ears don’t hear. I’m like a spider, sensing vibrations.
I’m a mentor serving the Class of 201.75.
My subject is longevity. We live in a time of static aging and perfected health. Unless we’re killed accidentally or by suicide, we don’t die any more. So we’ve learned how to live forever. Now our biggest challenge is to figure out why.
In my classes students study and experience the phases of immortality, a breakdown based upon the longest-lived, including the legendary Mike Feral, a man born in the Gregorian calendar’s mid-20th Century and still alive now.
But then, in a disturbing twist, I, Cameron Schrodinger, am killed – but remain conscious…
In fact, I’m still alive at the same time. But somewhere else. And that somewhere else goes on as if I only had an accident.
Because of my ongoing experience, I’m pretty sure that I’m somehow caught midway between realities in a quantum tunneling effort. When I die, since I haven’t yet fulfilled my subjective lifespan of 110 to 120 years, I still go on – because there are countless states of my existence, as there are of everyone’s. In my case, I’m uniquely aware of this because I am switching my planes of awareness without losing memories of my original world or the ones I’ve seen since this started. And if my super “memory” doesn’t depend on a physical brain – then what am I that’s transferring from one world to the next?
Whatever that is, I’m stuck in two worlds. Alive in one, dead in the other.
In the next class students notice a change in Professor Schrodinger. My enthusiasm has waned. My exuberance is diminished. As usual on any new day in every new Earth I try my best to fit in and not destroy the life that my native self has established, for the brief time I’ll be here. But this is different. Part of me is somewhere else.
It’s the opening class of the session. I call upon my ability to access this local brain’s memory for details about what I need to do to cover the phases of immortality.
A certain tugging and jerking makes me believe that my body is being gutted. As my insides are taken out I seem to be spreading throughout some room – oh yes, the morgue. What are these doctors doing to me? They’re giving up and gutting me too?
“First we’ll examine The Ennui Syndrome,” I inform the class. “Once you’ve lived long enough, redundancies start to be noticed. Another generation comes of age, and behold -! Another round of new musicians and coming-of-age fiction you can’t relate to. You’ve done everything you ever had on your bucket list twice or three times. Every hobby you ever loved for decades has finally become boring. You’re bored in general. You start to wonder what’s the point? And this after only a couple of hundred years. New challenges will have to be encountered either by discovery or invention,” I lecture. “This will inevitably involve physical transformation for anyone who lives long enough. Technology enables you to live as a creature of the sea, or to adapt to weightlessness permanently in space. A man might become female. Physical abilities can be added through genetic manipulation. Changing oneself will change perspective. The world will seem new again.”
Professor Schrodinger knows what’s happening to me, his other self, even though he only knows it as dreamlike flashes. And I know what’s happening to him, keeping me even more confused. I’m still alive, aren’t I? But this accident – I just can’t speak, right? Something happened to my mouth?
I go over the topics we’ll be getting into such as Lifestyle Relocation and Re-Education recommended for anyone living to be 300 or more.
Been lying still for a long time. Can’t open my eyes.Can’t hear a thing. It must be nighttime and I have to be asleep! But I’m wide awake?
I cover upcoming subjects like Memory Adjustment, necessary to deal with centuries of mounting loss and change. Sensations such as grief and guilt can paint life grey otherwise.
And then there is inevitably the time when some 33% of immortals choose to die anyway, resigned to the satisfaction of a long and thoroughly lived life, growing stale by repetition.
The End Of Life Ceremonies can vary widely and have become a colorful business, competing for customers with customized ways to die from soft and tranquil to adventurous and thrilling.
Some come to long for death, imaging it as a relief from everything.
But they don’t know about death like I do. You can’t get away with ending things prematurely. Because even if you’ve lived a thousand years you might never have reached a hundred and twenty years old. And if you don’t do old age, you don’t get to die. You just carry on where you left off, on other Earths.
So why can’t I carry on?
Instead, I dream of drifting through the world, a spirit bumping into solid things now and then, a remnant, a wind, a witness…locked in the Mind.
Alone in a half-life, a shell trapped in twilight.