Saturday, January 07, 2012

Immortal Love and Mortal Humans

Currently reading the book, "Vampires" by Joules Taylor, and came across this like that got me to thinking.:

"The love of a vampire goes on forever, but the life of a human being is all too short."

I thought of the "Highlander" movie with Christopher Lambert and how Connor lost his loves through the ages due to human mortality. How do you address mortality in stories of the paranormal and supernatural?

I looked back at my story, "Body Parts," which deals with a Frankensteinian theme of a man, Athan, created by a couple who are scientists, Cornelius and Sheba Ransom. Thus the relationship is even more complex because this couple are not only his makers, but his lovers and his mentors. Athan refers to them like this:

“The Ransoms? They were my makers. They were my lovers. They were my family. All that I am is because of them.”

Sheba and Cornelius are mortal and through Sheba's journal we see the progression of their lives, the fragility of their mortality as Athan remains unchanged. Here's a passage from Sheba's journal regarding her concerns for her husband and for Athan.

"I am so very tired. Athan tries to bear the brunt of the responsibility on his shoulders, but there is only so much even he can do. Cornelius listens to no one.

I feel his mind has gone but there is no way to have him institutionalized. Even for the ramblings of a crazy man, someone might believe his words and seek to discover the truth. I cannot allow that to happen.

It is midnight once again and I cannot sleep for the decisions I have had to make. It tears my heart out but we have come to the end. I must do it for his own protection. I never would have thought it would come to this, but there is no other choice.

I can no longer remember my life before Cornelius, before the time I became his assistant. I cannot imagine my life if something were to happen to him. I could not go on. Not without him. I must see to his safety and that no more harm can be done, not only to him but by him.

Athan is for the most part self-sufficient and can take care of himself as long as he remains on the estate. I have taken care of matters so that he will be well cared for no matter what happens to us. Since his creation he has never left the grounds, except to go to the town. The outside world would never understand him and I fear would treat him ill. He must be protected at all costs. I do not wish to see him harmed. Because of this I will take steps to be certain our research will never come to light.

Two hours ago, he came to me and we discussed what must happen in order to protect Cornelius and our life here. Athan has taken it upon himself to prepare apartments in the west tower. He is seeing to the installation of the locks on the doors and the windows. There is no other way. I can’t stand the thought of it, but there truly is no other way to protect Cornelius from himself. Oh, God, how has it come down to this?

In youth we do not foresee the end. We think we shall continue forever. As Athan will do. He is the perfect embodiment of all we hold precious--youth, freedom from disease, and immortality. In Athan we have created perfection.

He came to me tonight and we spoke of what needs to be done both to contain Cornelius and to secure the estate. All through dinner we listened to the rantings of my husband, knowing we must bide our time for the moment. Tonight he is again to meet with the body thief to procure another corpse for his twisted deeds.

I sometimes wonder if it is Cornelius who has changed, or is it me? Is it that Athan fills all the void places inside me and I have no wish to delve further? Have I become too content with what we have achieved in Athan?

Sheba's responsibilities, her goal to tie up loose ends, weighs heavily on her shoulders. Her needs and her relationship to Athan have altered over the years from that of creator/nurturer to dependent/nurturee. And what of Athan? Can he understand human emotion? Korrie, a young research who has come to the Ransom estates to study their extensive library as that very questiom

“Do you know what love is, Athan? Outside of the primality of your instinctual drive for sexual intimacy? Do you understand that Sheba loved you? Have you ever loved anyone?”

He dropped his head forward and she couldn’t see his expression. He was quiet for a long time. Then he looked at her, and she saw the flashing emotion in his eyes. “I looked it up once. In the dictionary. I have felt protective of Dr. Sheba and Dr. Cornelius. I know I would have given my life to save them. I have felt lust for the lovers who have come to me for satisfaction. I have been grateful to the ones who have allowed me to expend. I have felt sadness at the deaths of those I have cared for.” There was a question in his eyes when he looked at her. “I don’t know if this is love or not. It seems sometimes to be such a fleeting, fragile emotion, elusive to me in some way. I don’t know if I can use just one word to describe my emotions for the people who have passed through this immortal existence of mine.”

“God, Athan, every time I’m near you, when you speak to me, when I listen to your words, I feel like I ‑‑” How did she tell him she fell deeper in love with him each time she was in his presence? He was the most fascinating and sensitive person she had ever met in her life.

“What, Korrie? You feel what?” He leaned across the small, circular mosaic table and pressed his lips to hers. It wasn’t a demanding kiss; it was soft and seductive. His large, warm hand cupped her jaw, a finger stroking along the lines of her chin. She was hypnotized by the odd lightning of his expressive eyes. “When I am with you, so deep inside you, I feel the frantic beating of your heart. I think this connection I have with you is something so special, so unique. It is a feeling, a peace, I have never known before.”

“I feel it, too, Athan,” she whispered. "

Korrie is young, another researcher who has come into Athan's life. She is mortal, just like Dr. Sheba, and he starts to fall in love with her. He understands the mortal frailty of humans, he understands that he has become something of a caregiver, a sentinel. Dare he love too deeply? His relationship with Korrie is different from what he had experienced with the Ransoms. He has learned to have a care for humans and unlike Frankenstein's monster he does possess a moral compass.

In Sheba's last days Athan cared for her fragile body with tenderness and compassion, even as he dealt with Cornelius's lost of clarity and fractured mind. Sheba's entry in her diary speaks of her relationship with Athan, an immortal created through science and alchemy whom she is emotionally attached to and dependent on. Though advanced in age at this point, Athan still makes her feel cherished and loved.

"They still come to Athan in the garden. I seem to live vicariously through them now when I watch the heat of their passion beneath my window. Particularly on those nights when he has just been infused by the electrophasm treatments and the electrical impulses surge through him deliciously. I remembered well the stunning shocks of ecstasy as we made love.

This body and heart can no longer stand up to that much voltage and so I am a voyeur now, and I remember how it once felt to have him inside me that deeply and to feel the jolts as he spent into my womb. I long for those days when he made me feel as immortal as he.

Yet he has not forsaken me entirely ‑‑ he will not allow it. And he still looks at me with love in his expression. Just last night, before he left for his laboratory to induce the electrophasm treatment, he came to me.

Without a word, but the look of determination in his eyes.

“Tonight,” he said, as he lifted me from my chair and carried me to the bed, “I will be inside you.”

I shivered with anticipation as he peeled back the layers of my nightgown. For this night I don’t feel the frailty of my body as Athan looks at me with passion and love. I allow him to do as he will, to again make me feel like a desirable woman in his arms.

“You are beautiful to me, Dr. Sheba. Never doubt your importance to me.”

I felt his hot, moist lips on my body and the flutter of passion blossomed inside me. Frail I may be, but the desire has not lessened. He took his time as though learning my body for the very first time, just as we had learned each other so many years ago. I twined my fingers into the locks of his thick, resilient hair. God, he was beautiful and would always remain so.

He reached for a bottle in the drawer of the nightstand and I smelled the scent of the special lavender oil he had created in the lab.

I flew above myself as he applied it liberally to my pussy and I felt his thick fingers press inside me. My beautiful Athan.

The scent of the lilacs reminded me of the garden and if I closed my eyes I could feel my youth and the moist earth beneath me as Athan entered me slowly.

He took a chance by allowing himself to bleed out the electrical energy and coming to me at his lowest ebb, but before he applied his treatment. He did this for me, so there could be no chance of a stray surge stopping this frail heart of mine."

And after Sheba's death he spends many year alone without the anchor of love and guidance, until another scientist walks into his life. Korrie, who is very different from Sheba. Korrie is drawn to the Ransom estate through the passionate entries in Sheba's journal.

Again, Athan will be presented with human mortality. Dare he take the risk of loving another human?

As a writer, how do you deal with mortality in your paranormal and supernatural stories? As a reader, what do you like to see when it comes to the human condition versus immortal quotient? Handling the mortality issues can give a whole other layer and character dimension to story in my opinion. There is a very fragile balance whether it's a vampire, a faerie, a superhero, or some other larger than life creature. When dealing with humans it involves many complications and complexities, a possible heartbreak. Bringing someone "over" should never be an easy decision or a simple journey. Like any birth, death, and rebirth, there is pain and refashioning attached to the evolution of humanity.

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