For the last eight years I have been called David Marshall. That is, of course, not my name. I was born Christian Fontaine I was born in 1792 in Reims. just to East of Paris. Within the year Louis XVI was executed and my country tore itself apart. 40, 000 people were killed as enemies of the revolution. My Father Pierre managed to smuggle myself and my little sister into what was then The Austrian Netherlands. My Aunt Maria travelled from the Grand Duchy of Warsaw to warn us the we had been marked for death. The four of us travelled to England and sought refuge with my Fathers Cousin Guillaume. When I was 16 myself and my cousin Christopher were riding through the woods. A storm came out of nowhere and thunder made my horse bolt from under me. I hit the base of a tree and broke my neck.
I woke a day later as a doctor from the nearby village was declaring me dead. Our servant Anna ran from the room and my Father recoiled in horror. Maria ordered them all to leave the room. She took my hand. “I hadn’t thought t would be you Christian. I thought perhaps your sister Helene. It is more often women that inherit the gift.” She stroked my hair and had a single tear at the corner of her eye. “You cannot, perhaps will not ever understand. Those of us born this way rarely do. Once there was a race of Immortals called the Immad. They traveled around the world for they were curious about the races of Man. Some of them took human lovers They couldn’t ever have known that all their offspring would also be Immortal. You cannot die my love, as I can not. But you must protect this secret for all time. Humans are fearful of things they do not understand and what they fear, they hate and what they hate they kill.”
I spent my 17th birthday on a passenger ship to the New Wold. It is 1809. We arrive in New York, formerly New Amsterdam on the first of March. I watch the world change around me for the longest time. As Aunt Maria explained that day, so long ago. The first death is the time when we do not ever alter. I will always look like a teenager. There is no disease or wound that can harm me. I bare no scars or any marks of the injuries I have had. I was shot 15 times in the first world war. During the second world war I worked at Bletchley. I had to make sure there was never any mention of me or any record of my time there. In 1951 I married a woman called Joyce. I loved her with all my heart. We never had children but it didn’t seem to matter to us. We were just in love, oblivious to the humdrum beat of the world. Three days before her birthday on the 9th of June 1978 a drunk driver ran a red light and killed her as she crossed the road. I drowned myself in so much whiskey that my heart stopped. Every day she marvelled at how I never looked any older.
That was 37 years ago. I am now over 200 years old. Last Tuesday I had lunch with my Aunt Maria. She must be far, far older than I. She tells me that there are rumours of another search in Prague for one of our kind. Aman called Gruntz. Our enemies almost caught him in Berlin and again in Madrid but he managed to escape both times. I don’t suppose I will ever understand why the hunt us down. There are ways that we can die. But to what purpose? I have never really harmed anyone in 223 years. We are not evil. We have no great plan. We just survive and live and work.
I open the door to my apartment and my cat Fat Tom jumps on my feet mewling. Kim pops her head around the bathroom door. She smiles and wearing just one of my old shirts crosses the hall and kisses me. “You.” She smiles. “you.” I reply. An old and silly greeting. She is studying Architecture at Kent. She is quite breathtakingly beautiful but every day I am with her reminds me that one day I will have to leave. I do not age, get sick, I heal from everything. One day she will have to ask me about that niggling question in the back of her mind. Until that awful day I put my arms around her waist and kiss her on her soft lips. “Do you want me to cook or do you want to go to Prestige? I booked a table for 7pm.”
Her perfect lips part over even white teeth. “I will put some clothes on.”
We leave walking hand in hand across the park. I am not going to leave today but I will have to eventually Until then I smile at this beautiful woman and I am grateful..