He was standing in the middle of a field, with a gun in one hand and a knife dripping a dark metallic, red liquid, in the other. And in front of him was a limp body.
Sound exploded in his ears and he heard the heavy footsteps of horses as they charged forward, the slow sound of guns being reloaded, screams of warning and cries of help, the loud thump as bodies fell to the ground like rain and the slice of dirt as flags stabbed the earth.
He felt victory bubbling deep in his gut.
Her heels clipped and clopped against the polished marble stairs and her dress played around her ankles. Her blonde hair flowed down her back and tickled her shoulders, bouncing slightly as she walked towards him, her plump red lips shaped into a smile. And he smiled back, his blue eyes sparkling.
He ran out onto the open field, the sun brushing against his rosy cheeks and making his dark hair glimmer. The wind carried his laughter which grew louder as his two sisters joined him. Their dresses circled around their knees as they spun in circles, absorbing the sun. They collapsed to the ground, crushing the daisies under them and giggled. He lowered himself to the ground and laughed, as happiness filled him.
He pushed aside his long dead memories, moving his eyes away from the window that displayed the tops of tall buildings and billboards with flashing lights.
“Dylan, pay attention,” the voice was soft and familiar.
“I’m still with you, I was just…thinking,” he muttered as he shifted uncomfortably in his chair, stretching his long legs under the large table that seated many men and women.
“We have no doubt you were thinking,” the voice was deep and raspy, but at this stage almost expected. His gaze shifted to the man who had just spoken. His greying hair white in the bright light, allowed in through the window, spread across the far wall. Charlton, the man he knew all too well.
“Back to business then,” said Dylan. “Have you found a solution?” he looked around at the blank faces, question blooming in his eyes, “Come on guys, give me some good news.”
His voice tightened when nothing was said. “You have to have something by now,” he turned to look back at the man with greying hair. His eyes pleaded with him, “Charlie, please, you don’t know how hard it is.”
“You forget that we have lived forever, we remember and we cope,” said a sharp voice.
Dylan’s eyes darkened as they fastened on the woman. “It’s not the same. You haven’t lived time and time again, you don’t age normally, I do. You all stay hidden. You haven’t felt the pain,” his voice dripped with the despair he didn’t have the energy to hide.
“Enough boy! We have no solution,” it was the sharp voice again, but this time cut off by Charlie.
What he said next, he said earnestly, “We do have a solution.”
Dylan felt his body go numb.
“Be quiet, Charlton,” said a man with striking red hair and a face screwed up tight in anger.
Charlie looked directly at Dylan before saying, “And we have had it for many years.”
Dylan wanted to explode with anger, but instead his head dropped. When he looked back up, his soft blue eyes shimmered with unshed tears and his hands were clenched in fists, revealing white knuckles. He wanted to scream and yell, but his throat was dry.
“What are you talking about, Charlie?” Dylan said hoarsely.
Without quite looking at Dylan, Charlie responded, “It was about the sixth or seventh time that you came to see us that we found a solution to your problem.”
This time anger flowed out of him as if he were a volcano, long waiting to explode. He stood up abruptly, knocking over the chair he was sitting in, slamming a flat hand down against the table.
“How could you do that - keep that from me?” he shouted.
The room was dead silent and only the low murmur of traffic from the streets below could be heard.
It was Charlie who spoke first, finally meeting Dylan’s eyes, “It was for your own good, Dylan.”
“How the hell do you know what is for my own good? I came here, asking for help!” He gritted his teeth and looked directly at Charlie, tears finally flowing down his face. “I trusted you,” he turned his head to the others, “I trusted all of you,” his voice echoed with betrayal.
It was the soft and familiar voice that spoke next, “You were merely a child when we met you, so desperate to forget the pain, the tears, the death and bloodshed. But what about the joy, the love, the laughter, the happiness? We knew you would regret forgetting,” her voice didn’t waver but pleaded with him to understand.
“The things that brought me joy are now forgotten, the ones I loved and made me laugh are now dead and all that happiness went with them.” He wasn’t shouting anymore, but his eyes were red from crying and his voice harsh, “I just want to forget.”
“You’ll regret it,” said the red-haired man frankly.
“Maybe I will, but what does it matter, it’s not your choice,” Dylan retorted savagely.
“Give it to him,” the words came from Charlie, his gaze moving to look at his colleagues. There was an eruption of ‘whats’ from the others around the table.
“Give it to him,” Charlie said simply, “It is his choice, we should not have made it for him.”
“Very well, Charlton, we’ll give it to him on one condition.” It was the red-haired man speaking again. He turned to look at Dylan, his black eyes like a dagger in Dylan’s chest. “He can have it, but we will not make another for him. If he drinks, he will not need another, but if he changes his mind, he will not get our help again.”
“Very well, Chauncy,” said Charlton, “Do you agree Dylan?”
Dylan nodded stiffly.
There was a clash of hands, mumble of words, doors being swung open and heavy footsteps.
Dylan was hustled out of the building, a vial pushed into his hands and the next thing he knew, he was standing in the middle of a New York sidewalk, people filing past him. He could hear the loud horns of cabs, quick-paced footsteps, low murmurs of conversation. He could smell the clash of perfumes mixing with sweat, car fumes and the waft of onions from food stands and the smell of smoke from the smokers.
Now, it was time to make a choice. The vial held a clear-looking liquid that was tinted purple and bubbling ferociously. His choice sat in his hands…literally. One sip and he would forget forever, but if he were to tip it away, he would remember. Forever! He looked around curiously, with what The Immortals had said, still fresh in his mind. His pale hands tightened around the vial and he opened the lid.