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Seven Steps to Immortality

Jennifer Brozek is a wordslinger and optimist, an author, media tie-in writer, an editor, and a collector of antique occult literature. She believes the best thing about being a full-time freelance publishing industry professional, is the fact that she gets to choose which 60 hours of the week she works. In-between cuddling her cats, writing, and editing, Jennifer is an active member of SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. She keeps a tight writing and editing schedule and credits her husband with being the best sounding board ever. Visit Jennifer's worlds at jenniferbrozek.com or on Twitter @JenniferBrozek.

One: Seek
I, Thaddeus Galway the IV, am immortal. I didn’t start out that way. I was mortal, human, like everyone else until my twenty-first year. Then I had a mortal moment and realized I was going to die; that I was going to cease to exist someday. From that moment on, I did everything in my power to become immortal. Thus, my first step was to seek what I desired.
Two: Health
In my earliest years, I sought immortality through clean living and healthy eating. Never did an illicit drug or indulgent wine pass through my lips. I exercised. I took my vitamins. I continued to study and learn, exercising my mind as much as my body. My second step was to keep what I’d been born with in the best shape it could be in.
Three: Robotic Replacement
Despite my best efforts, my body got old. When my body refused to do what my mind thought it should be capable of, I turned to the newest form of preservation: robotic enhancement, then robotic replacement. It was a joy to be able to run and fight and fuck again, even if the sensations were simulated. This was the third step on my journey.
Four: Total Digital Upload
In essence, I became a brain in a biomedical chassis and my problem inverted itself. While my body, mechanical marvel that it was, could perform spectacular tasks, my mind, my brain, the part that made me who I am, still aged. With technology far beyond what I’d been born to, I decided that the only way to save me was a total digital upload. To become more than the sum of my parts. This fourth step was not taken lightly.
Five: Meat Replacement
The digital world was beyond what I can put into words. There were vistas out there that astounded and entertained me. And yet, I could not shake the thought that one bad day, one blackout, one faulty UPS could end me. Not to mention the small fact that I no longer had any bodily sensations and what I remembered became suspect. Despite my freedom, I took the fifth step and commissioned a meat replacement body. I took possession of a young man of exquisite health and beauty.
Six: Seek the Myths & Legends
As much as I reveled being a young man again and rediscovering the joys of the flesh, I’d come full circle. The body was healthy and spry, but it still aged. Upon possession of my third replacement body--two male, one female--I decided enough was enough. I needed to find true life eternal. My sixth step was to seek out the original sources of all the enduring stories about immortality.
Seven: Luck
I discovered the fountain of youth had gone dry, the philosopher’s stone stolen, mermaid flesh a lie, cinnabar and gold indigestible, and the chalice of Christ required a belief and devotion that I couldn’t adhere to--if it was ever anything more than a PR event. I could never tell.
My seventh and final step to immortality was nothing more than pure dumb luck. I came across the lamp in an abandoned cave and rubbed it to a shine. When the genie appeared and offered three wishes, it should’ve been a warning that she gave me no rules. I demanded immortality. She merely smiled. We changed places that day. She took my body. I took her place.
I’ve watched that once exquisite body decay into bones and then into dust as I’ve waited for the next adventurer to come along.
I am Thaddeus Galway the IV and I am immortal.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, November 29th, 2021
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