“Attempt number 251,” Prasanna said and jumped off the plane with the parachute. The parachute opened at the right time and Prasanna landed safely.
“Attempt failed.” Prasanna recorded angrily and went up again. This time, he jumped without the parachute.
“Attempt #251,” he recorded just before the jump. He hit the ground at terminal velocity. His face was almost smashed and his legs were completely crushed. His backbone snapped in half due to the stress and his skull was showing brain.
“Perfect,” Prasanna mumbled and closed his one good eye. He had assumed that this won’t work but it seemed that this was going to work after all.
Prasanna woke up two days later in a hospital bed and immediately swore.
“You should feel lucky that you survived. When we got you, you were barely breathing. Thankfully, all your organs were intact otherwise you would have been dead. What were you thinking, jumping off the plane without a parachute? Young man. This life is a gift and you are wasting it like this.”
The nurse continued for another five minutes but Prasanna zoned her out. He looked at his body at it was in mint condition. Both of his eyes were working perfectly and his snapped back was straight as a cane.
“You really think it would survive such a fall.” The nurse said in a stern tone.
“Millenials, hmphh!” She said and left the room. Prasanna saw a paper and pen and wrote on it before he forgets the exact count – Attempt #252: Failed.
Prasanna still remembered fondly the day he had realized that he was immortal. He had stopped aging at around 25 years of age and since then, he has lived several lives and several generations. He had seen the rise of the British empire and then its fall, the two world wars, the rise of technology, and all the things that come in between. Initially, he was excited by each of those things. Each and everything has a novelty and after a certain point, he would simply change the location which was harder during the old days. Now, he has visited all the countries, seen all the monuments, and lived in most cities for years and with travel becoming so easy and with the internet, he found every day as boring and similar as the previous one.
It was time to go, he decided. In the past five years, he had tried to get killed more than 250 times. Each time he came out alive. If someone tried to kill him, it didn’t work as no creature could kill him. If he tried committing suicide, it didn’t work because he was also a creature. He wasn’t aging so that was out of the question.
He tried everything from becoming a superhero to put himself in danger every day to joining the military to climbing the hardest mountains in the world. He had already climbed Everest three times and came back alive all three times.
Raima entered the room silence and shock visible on her face. Prasanna couldn’t meet her gaze. She held his hand and he felt the warmth of her hand and guilt alongside it. He had been dating Raima for around six months now. In his grand scheme of finally ending his life, he completely forgot about her.
Raima remained silent for the whole time just holding his hand. This more than anything increased his guilt. If she had perhaps shouted, Prasanna would have remained silent.
“I can’t die.”
Raima looked at him curiously.
“I have tried before. It doesn’t work.”
“You have attempted suicide before?” Raima said in a husky voice, mixed with emotions.
Prasanna nodded and showed her the paper.
“Attempt #252: Failed.”
“Jumping off the plane without a parachute.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I’ll explain after we are out of this place.”
“They will keep you here for a week, to see if you are stable.”
Prasanna nodded. “It’s fine. Let’s start now.”
Prasanna started telling her about his journey across the centuries. Initially, she was skeptical and asked questions at every point of the way but finally, she accepted his version of the truth.
“I can’t believe it.”
“Please help me die,” Prasanna said.
“What? No! I love you.”
“Please,” Prasanna requested.
“I won’t help you, Prasanna. But I will try to find more about this. To understand you.”
Finally, after a week, Prasanna was discharged. Raima and Prasanna reached the home where books were all over the place.
“I was doing some reading,” Raima said sheepishly.
“I can see that. What are you reading?”
“History has no record of such a person so I delved into mythology where there are many records of beings who were immortal. They were all conditionally immortal though – always a catch – which helped the Gods in killing those beings.”
“So, we just have to find the catch?”
Raima nodded and then shook her head.
“No! I’m not doing this so that you start on your journey to kill yourself again. I just wanted to know if there is something that we need to protect you from.”
Prasanna smiled. “And did you find something.”
Raima opened a book and showed Prasanna a highlighted portion. It was a memoir of a doctor from the 15th century.
“My friend was immortal. Nothing could kill him, he would often say, and yet, today, he is no more. Foiled by fate. I saw him riddled with bullets and smiling, butchered by bears and joking about it as his body healed, stabbing himself with a knife and then getting healed, drowning in water and then coming out alive, getting diseases deadly to other people and walking them off. And yesterday, he slipped and fell on a stone. His brain opened but he was smiling. We waited for it to heal but it didn’t. No creature could kill him, no disease could destroy him, but sheer dumb luck can’t be defeated by even an immortal.”
The memoir talked about this man further but Prasanna didn’t read after it.
“If I am similar to this guy’s friend, only luck can kill me.”
“Yeah, it seems you can only die accidentally. If there is any deliberate attempt by anyone, you will survive.”
“How do I create bad luck?”
“You don’t. You live and wait for it to catch up to you.”
Prasanna smiled back and made a mental note of what he had read.