I admit, karma was not something I ever expected to believe in. Karma always sounded like something fools would acknowledge. I always had something better to do. My mind had to remain focused on my company, my work. My coworkers were afraid of me. They viewed me as eccentric and potentially mentally unstable. I didn’t care, not at the time. I just wanted results. That is what mattered to me. That is what I chose to focus on.
And what do you know, my unorthodox methods worked...somewhat. Results had come in. Our equipment was getting better. I held our newest invention in my hands. Its sleek design, it was so beautiful. I was eager to have it tested. If we could perfect this device, we could make millions. All our, no..my hard work would pay off. I would finally be able to tell our rivals to shove it up where the sun don’t shine.
That isn’t what ended up happening. The device was not perfected. There were many problems with it. I told my best scientists in the company to work on a way to keep it from falling apart. Even when that was taken care of, I had to find people willing to try it out. The device’s function was unique and not many people knew how to handle it, or grasp the ability to understand how it works. I was running out of people willing to test it.
The most important thing missing from the device was a compatible material. This material, I knew I had to find it. It work side by side with my invention. I was losing money fast. My company was getting smaller. People were leaving, losing hope or unable to afford to keep coming here. If I can get this to work, they’d come back. Yes, they would come back.
My wife wasn’t as optimistic as me. She thinks it is my fault that everyone was leaving. No, she had to be wrong. Sure, I yelled at employees and employers alike. Sure, I would get on the intercom and spout what they thought was ‘wild nonsense’. But I knew better than all of them. I was speaking the truth. I was speaking motivation. If those idiots want to abandon the company, I won’t stop them. I knew I couldn’t. Still, I couldn’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they see me next and I was a millionaire. They’d be begging to join me after that.
I was overjoyed the day I learned of immortality. The very few people working for me figured out a way to pull it off. It was a painful procedure and it was still in the works. I didn’t care. My invention would grab me fame, sure. But immortality...that would set me up for life. I would be able to buy out our rivals with the snap of a finger. No one would be able to stand in my way ever again.
Then that day came. I was getting sick. The feeling of my airways being congested was horrible. My company...I had found the proper material at last. But it had come with a cost: my health. I deteriorated every day, my voice getting worse and worse. I knew I could die any day. I could no longer focus on the company as much as I could. I needed someone else to take my place. There wasn’t a long list to choose from.
Excluding me, there were a total of eleven people left in this company. How I managed to keep things running for this long, I’ll never know. Out of those eleven, there were nine men. I thought about them first. But going through their credentials, I knew none of them would work. They were either too crazy, too quiet, or too moronic to do the work. I’d need someone whom I could trust to do the work. Somone I knew could handle the load.
That brought me to my wife. She was the only candidate left. The only person remaining other than her was my daughter, and she was way too young to have all this responsibility thrust onto her shoulders. So it had be my wife. I had made my choice. The next day, I broadcasted my intentions over the intercom. I made it very clear I wanted her to take over the company once I was gone.
She came later that day into my office. I thought she would have been thrilled to recieve such an honor. Instead, she turned it down flat out. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised. We had drifted apart while working here. Although she was still my wife, she refused to call me by my first name anymore. Only my last name. It hurt, but I don’t know why she was so upset. She tried to get me to accept the responsibilities of my actions.
Oh that speech again. I hated it when she would bring it up. I was and had been pulling my own weight around this damn company. It has been everyone else who were slacking off. I tried to motivate them. They just dismissed it as rubbage or crazy talk and left. The few that remained didn’t take me very seriously. And as my wife left, leaving me on that bitter note that she would not help continue my legacy, I knew what I had to do.
Some scientists from my rival company were looking for work. They came straight here just to spite their old boss. This made me thrilled. Now it was possible to finish creating immortality. The large machine my previous scientists were working on before they quit had collected dust and cobwebs. My new recruits shook their heads at such a pitiful sight of wasted technology. They assured me they would finish and it would be up and running.
And when it was, it was the most glorious thing I ever saw. The sound of humming filled the room, and the machine was ready for use. The scientists warned me about its instability. Some mumbo jumbo on how I had to be careful when using it. I did not care. I did not heed their warning. I needed to test this baby out. I needed a test subject.
I thought about my wife. No, I couldn’t be that cruel, could I? What about our daughter? What would she think? I needed someone else. But my wife continued popping into my head. My mind began debating with itself. Would it really be bad if I forced my wife to try it out? If it worked, she had the potential to live forever. Wouldn’t that be something to make her happy?
...but what about me? What would make me happy? At the very start, this company was created for me. Everything I did in this company, I did for me, with my best interests in mind. I had been denied for so many years, that I had to learn to take what was rightfully mine. My wife understood this...for a short while. She turned on me. She abandoned me in my hour of need. Why should I care what happens to her now? Karma, as I was told, had a way of coming back and biting you. Not that I believed it at the time, but my so-called wife sure did.
I still remember her shouts as I had the scientists bring her over. The remaining employees remained silent. They watched in horror as the scene unfolded. My wife, no my ex-wife, spat in my direction as I told her my intentions with her. As she was being hauled to the machine, she struggled to get free. I knew she would not be strong enough to break through. I turned away, letting the scientists get to work.
I remember the screams. They filled the room with a sense of dread. I did my best to ignore it. It would soon all be over. It was hard to ignore her cries, pleas of mercy. A part of me felt builty. But only a tiny part. This was for science. She should be happy to be helping humanity make progress. She should be happy about making me happy. She must not have known that because her sounds began to get more frantic.
Soon it was over. The room went quiet. I turned around. My wife lay lifeless on the table she was strapped to. I felt a tear shed from my eyes. I questioned with myself if I had done the right thing. That feeling of remorse and regret only lasted a fraction of a second. The machine’s lights turned on and it began to move on its own accord. Little movements. Nothing truly life-like, yet. In that instant, I knew it had been a success. Project Immortality was a go.
Or it would have, if the incident hadn’t occurred. One of my employees had fled. The craziest of them all, and he still managed to get away even before the immortality procedure was fully complete. I watched as most of my scientists were slaughtered before my eyes. The looks on their faces, I would never forget it. They fell down, thrashed on the ground, and soon were dead. There wasn’t even any blood, no signs that there was anything wrong with them.
My remaining eight employees, I saw something big grab them. I didn’t know what happened to them. I heard their screams as they fell. Were they dead? I couldn’t tell. I hung onto something tight as something was pulling me upwards. I had to stop this machine. A surviving scientist gave me something, looked like a small device of sorts, and told me to plug it into the machine. While I succeeded, I felt something hit the back of my head, and I went out cold.
When I had awoken, nothing was the same. There was nobody around, and I couldn’t move. It was a strange sensation, not being able to move or feel anything. Yet I could still see. My vision was bad, but it was good enough. I looked around, taking in my surroundings. The building was clean and crisp. Somebody was still maintaining it.
I saw somebody run by. I recognized him as my crazy employee. I called out to him. Surely he would help me out. To my surprise, he only stared at me in horror and ran away. I didn’t know what had gotten into him until I caught sight of my reflection. My god, what had happened to me? I was...nothing like how I used to be. Was this the result of immortality? Was this the price I had to pay for it?
I was getting lonely. Oh there were others like me around, but they didn’t care much for conversation. They were always aiming their guns on something, target practice. It was nice at first to listen to someone else speak. But it got old fast. These things weren’t much of company. If I could, I’d punch every single one of them.
Not being able to move was getting to me. I’d try to keep myself calm. But you try living in a frozen, still body and see how long you’d last. Oh there were somethings I could still move, but they would be of no use to me. Unlike the others, I refused to fire my weapons. I did not get joy of it. If anything, it just made me feel worse, knowing all I could do was shoot. A simple walk had become nothing more than a dream.
The ony thing that warmed my heart was the fact that someone was still upkeeping my company, and that there were still volunteers coming in, for the name of science. It was a shame they were all killed. Some were really good, too. I would have done something to help, if only I could move.
The final volunteer caused me to scream internally. It was my own daughter. She must have signed up to test my invention, and to get through the obstacles that lay before her. She had grown up by this point. Had it really been that long? I watched as my daughter left her new room, not knowing if she would ever come back. I worried about her. The others around me, they would kill her. I could not do a thing to help.
A voice was guiding her. I was happy at first that the person in charge was doing their best to make sure my daughter survived. I wish I could identify the voice. It sounded strange. Oh well, I might get a chance later to thank the person, if they ever to happen to walk by here that is. Then there was a horrid cackle, making my heart, if I could say I have a heart, stopped beating for a second. The voice had changed, and now I recognized who it really was. It was my own wife.
She...she was going to kill her own daughter. No, why would she do that? I felt the building shake all around me. An earthquake must of struck. My thoughts paid little mind to it. Even as the walls crumbled down on me, all I could think of is why my wife would try to off her daughter like that. Then I blacked out for a second time as a block of stone struck me in the head.
This time, when I awoke, I was resting on garbage. My head hurt so bad that I didn’t care that the state of my company deteriorated. It took me hours to remember what had happened. I remembered my daughter. I remembered my wife trying to kill her. Then an earthquake, then nothing. I didn’t know how long it had been. I scanned the room, trying to find any sign of how long it had been. It felt like it was decades, or even longer than that.
I saw someone walking in my direction. Great. Maybe they can help me out. As they got closer, I felt myself almost gasp in shock. It was my daughter. She was still alive. How was she able to survive? I tried to move. I still couldn’t budge. My body was frozen. She was with someone. I didn’t recognize him at first. But hearing that voice, I knew it could only be one person. One of my employees. So this must have been what happened to my employees. Where were the others?
I tried calling for help. My daughter stopped and stared at me. I realized, with dread, she couldn’t help me from where she was. It didn’t help that my former employee was shoving her away, telling her to ignore me. I felt myself fill with rage. Yet my voice was as calm as ever. It was the curse of immortality I suppose.
This is where the karma really began to sink in. My wife had taken everything away from me. She had taken my company. She took my employees. She killed my scientists. She took my daughter away. And she trapped me here to witness it all. Karma bit me in the ass. No, it did more than that. It sucked out the blood from my veins, leaving me a husk, yet I was still aware of what was going on. A horrible fate, one worse than death.
I found myself on a moving platform. I looked around. I didn’t care that I would die soon. It would alleviate me from this pain. It would make me forget the betrayal I gave to my wife, her betrayal in return. I closed my eyes and waited for the end...only for my eyes to snap open at the sound of someone walking across the platforms near me. I desperately looked around. My daughter...she had come here. And she was alone. For now.
I called out to her. She listened this time. She came over and picked me up with my invention. I gratefully thanked her. I tried to think of ways to warn her of what was to come. I had to tell her the truth. But how would I do that? My wife might be able to hear me. If I told our daughter too much, she might....
I spoke, carefully choosing my words. My daughter looked at me in confusion as I said each phrase. A part of me was grateful. It may mean that my wife didn’t know what I was talking about either. I couldn’t say too much, or my wife would start getting suspicious. I kept quiet during most of the walk. Then the time came that my daughter set me back down. There was still one more thing I had to tell her. One thing she had the right to know.
“Her name is Caroline. Remember that.”