The Immortals

Looking down upon the humans of the Earth, he wondered, and not for the first time, where everything had gone wrong, and what the next step in their journey should be.

They think it’s easy for me, he thought. Well, they are wrong.

When this world was created and the decision was made that life would be permitted upon it, there had been nothing but excitement in the Immortal realm. There were so many possibilities. Amazing opportunities to explore what sentient life could and would do, in its own microcosm.

And, to begin with, it had been a massive success. The great human species, Homo Erectus, as they had come to be called by those that came after, had lived successfully and in relative peace and harmony with the rest of the planet for over two million years.

There had been other human species, too, that had acquitted themselves well in the eyes of the Immortals.

But with the advent of Homo Sapiens, that had all changed. Sapiens were something else entirely. Something that had never been intended or expected.

On Earth, there were great books written about his kind. There were many speculations made by countless manuscripts about the nature of God or the Gods. Learned men and women had debated the facts and the possibilities, and had shown great intuition and respect, and more than a little creativity, for that matter.

And yet, there were so many now that simply did not believe. And with disbelief, came a form of self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that no-one can help or guide you, then no-one will.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear, as has been quoted by human philosophers.

“If the student is never going to be ready, then the teacher, frankly, has much better things to do,” he mumbled, into the glistening eons of the cosmos.

And so, here we are, he thought. Humans need us more than they ever have but they simply do not seem to want us anymore.

He knew that many had asked for signs that the Immortals exist. And also that many signs had been given to them. But the signs had been mostly ignored — written off as just another natural disaster or freak event.

They wanted the burning bush — he knew that. The burning bush was a mistake. Yahweh had confessed to his brethren that he should never have lowered himself to talk to a human using a plant as a portal. It was much too obvious and a little embarrassing.

More importantly, the message had been completely garbled by Moses anyway, and his followers, and centuries of transliteration, transcription, translation and interpretation. There is no point in using a podium to communicate your message, if the audience is too deaf to listen, he thought.

These days, his kind prefer much more subtle methods. If mankind chooses not to believe based on that approach, then that is their loss.

Of course, a huge amount of the ‘facts’ banded around about the Gods had actually been twisted and manipulated for others’ ends. It came as a bit of a shock to his realm that there was such a massive contingent of humans that wanted to create a control system for the rest of the population, based on the existence of the Immortals.

Heaven? Hell? He felt these were clearly ridiculously simplistic mortal concepts, intended to encourage humans to worship and be subservient to an organisation . An organisation created by other humans to allow them to realise what they loved most: power.

So little of it made logical sense to him. If Heaven was such a beautiful place, where all your sins are forgiven, why would they not let humans in who had taken their own life? Of course, it was a necessary caveat invented by those who created the concept, otherwise entire flocks of church worshippers, having a hard time in their lives, would have taken the trip early and saved themselves the pain and bother of waiting.

Yes, there is another existence for human consciousness after their time on Earth. But humans who take their own lives are just as welcome to it as anyone else.

He smiled wryly. One of his greatest amusements was the odd myth that humans have, about needing to go to a place of worship in order to speak to his kind. Why would that be necessary? Why would an all-powerful, omnipotent being need you to be in a certain place in order to hear your prayers? Nonsense, he thought.

The other incredible misunderstanding that modern man seemed to insist on perpetuating is which flavour of God to believe in. It was inconceivable to him that it was possible to believe in a supernatural being and yet be so hung up on what they look like, what their name is, or, indeed, how many of them there are.

To him, there were two types of humans: those that believe in Immortals and those that do not. To be any further concerned was to quibble about pointless details.

Then, there had been some gigantic anomalies in the human experiment. Adolf Hitler was a great example of humanity gone seriously wrong. A mortal who wanted to be an Immortal. Who thought he was more powerful than them. It was with a great sense of relief that his destiny was placed firmly under the heading of ‘early finish’.

But, he still managed to do an incredible amount of damage in his limited time on the planet. Even now, in the place that humans would most closely have associated with the concepts of Valhalla, Heaven, Nirvana and Paradise, that particular entity is a handful.

However, at least now, without the physical bounds and limited human thinking, he was able to look back at his time and realise what a power-drunk monster he was. And, he had expressed deep feelings of remorse.

Perhaps a major part of Homo Sapiens’ problem is their innate selfishness, he thought. Their perception that a God would have nothing better to do than cure one kind person’s illness on the planet Earth.

The reality, of course, was that he and the other Immortals were balancing and controlling the entire universe. In fact, what humans were finally beginning to understand was that there were actually multiple universes, each with its own particular set of possibilities, being seen to their inevitable conclusion.

The closest human analogy? Cultures in a medical dish. Any human scientist would recognise the fact that you didn’t try one possibility with an experiment — you tried as many permutations as possible.

Some humans thought it was a game to him. A simple roll of the die to determine who was going to perish next and who would live — what major disaster would befall the planet. Ridiculous.

Even now, in the 21st century of the modern Homo Sapiens existence, the smartest and yet most ignorant of the human species, when there were individuals who were finally beginning to understand the real nature of the fabric of the universe that he and his kind had created — the magnificent warp and weft that held together the cosmos and allowed everything to be interconnected so majestically at, what they would call, the quantum level— even now, they still thought that he would choose to interfere with a single event as it was developing.

Yes, his kind could have manipulated things. He could have righted apparent injustices. In fact, he had, but no-one was aware of those manipulations because no-one affected by them remembered them — not in the timeline that they were currently experiencing. To have it any other way would have created what the humans called a paradox.

The Egyptians had known and had understood. Yes, they were a little on the fanatical side, but they really grasped some of the key concepts. And their engineering abilities for the tools they had were remarkable — take the pyramids as an example.

They were definitely a highlight for him of human endeavour and cosmological understanding. Of course, the meaning of the pyramids had long since passed into dust, like any system subject to universal entropy. But, for a while there, they had been on a pretty good line.

But their treatment of one another was definitely an issue, like so many human cultures that had developed from the Homo Sapiens’ gene.

One concept he just couldn’t grasp was the idea of treating others of your own species badly, just because of some perceived difference. It was a bizarre and totally unexpected development.

The one that irritated him the most was killing in the name of the Gods.

Essentially, “My God is better than your God so I’m going to kill you.”

Or, “You don’t believe what I do so you must die.”

What utter, destructive nonsense, he thought.

This was the primary problem with Homo Sapiens: the aggression born from insecurity. The defensive over-reaction resulting in reaching for the nearest weapon, just because the other being of your kind is slightly different to you, so might be a threat.

Of course, that was why Homo Sapiens had completely eradicated all the other human species . The adaptable Homo Heidelbergensis. The gentle Homo Neanderthalensis. The intelligent Homo Erectus. All wiped out by Homo Sapiens because of one very worrying thing: fear turned to aggression.

And this formed the first part of the major decision he now had to make.

The second part was that mankind was destroying the delicate balance of the planet itself, through its interference, mismanagement, greed, and downright stupidity.

So, now, he pondered. The scales in his mind’s eye were set and the arguments placed onto each side.

Was it time to bring the great experiment to an end?

He debated for a time. It was not measurable in any concept of time that humans would understand.

And then he realised that the conclusion was obvious.

He opened the box he had by his side and removed the object inside of it. He placed it into the mechanism in front of him and allowed it to settle.

It was a lot like a key. And it now sat in what could easily be described as a keyhole. And now all he had to do was turn the key.

It was time, he realised. He turned the key. And all human life on the planet Earth ended.

The rest of the planet would be better off without them, he knew. It would take time, but the ecosystem would recover, and the other animals would regain their previous harmony with one another. And life would continue.

Now, onto new things.

What species should he select for elevation next? The Saurians had been tried and it had certainly been eventful. Apes had been a mistake: that much was certain now.

Perhaps it was time for Felines to be given a chance to rule the Earth?

He turned back to the device in front of him and began the work.

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