Tale of a Dead Man

Circles within circles, tracks within tracks. The world goes round and so does my head. Does death exist or are we immortal? Round and round the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran ...

When did it all begin? I am not so sure now. Was it when I started reading science fiction? Or did I have an inkling of the truth even before then? I can't be sure but of one thing I am certain - I am immortal! For that matter - so are you.
Have you watched "The Highlander" - the movie or the TV series? No? Well, it's about these group of immortals who cannot be killed except when you cut off their head. They live centuries and kill one another to become the last immortal on earth. Weird, huh? We aren't like that at all. We die all too soon but yet ... we remain alive. Maybe it was "The Highlander" which gave me this idea but I don't think so. I must have always had a vague knowledge of the truth from my teenage days but it is only recently that the truth has become crystalized in my mind - sort of like a grain of sand becoming a pearl within an oyster over time. Enough of this wanderings! Let me tell you the whole tale and you may judge whether I am right or wrong.

I guess it all sort of came together in mind the day I missed being run over by that lorry - the question was: did I really escape? There I go again - rambling. Let me start over. I had been to a second-hand bookstore in search of old science fiction novels as is my habit. I got a very good haul and was in high spirits as I left the store. I started my motorbike and was just accelerating when I felt a jarring grind. I looked down while on the move and saw that I still had the stand down. I hooked the stand with my foot and pulled it up as I approached a roundabout. I looked up and saw this lorry bearing down on me, only a couple of feet away. I don't know what I did or how I managed it but the next instant the lorry was past me and I was safe. But this niggling question kept on bothering me: "What if I had really died there on the road but my consciousness had jumped to an alternate time track in which I did not die?"

Sort of screwy, huh? But I kept on thinking about it and the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced of the fact that I really did die on the road that day. I was there, remember? The way that lorry bore down on me, there was no way I could have escaped and yet, here I am. And when you think about it, who would ever really realize that you had died (in another time track of course) when you kept on living? The only people who knew of your death are the people from the world on which you died. But if a new world is created at the time of your death and you go on living in there, nobody that you knew would be aware that you'd died. In fact, you wouldn't know it yourself!

Since the incident with the lorry, I have had a few more "miraculous" escapes from death and the certainty that I died each of these times has been growing within me. Though I have often been tempted to try to deliberately kill myself to see whether my theory was right, I have been held back by a tiny voice at the back of my mind which kept on saying: "You're crazy! You're going to die!" But now, I am finally ready to take that final plunge and prove that I am right.

What caused this change of heart? Well ... I guess I can express it in one word: Kathryn. Kathryn - the woman I loved for so long, so passionately. The woman who haunted my thoughts for years. She, for whom I built castles in my mind, shattered them for ever when she said that she didn't love me. May be it was my fault for loving her so passionately but then, who can control love? Love her I did and now my world lies empty, bare, desolate. I have nothing to lose and nothing to gain either. So why not try to see whether I really am immortal?

Now don't think I am trying to do this in the hope of winning her love in an alternate world. It doesn't work that way. These worlds are different from the ones you read about in science fiction because the only difference in these worlds is that you don't die - everything else remains unchanged from world to world. So, how ever many times I die, Kathryn will never love me if she doesn't love me now. But, I have nothing to lose, now do I? So I think I will try it tonight - just to see whether I'm right or wrong.

I just have one question in my mind as I gaze at a beautiful sunset at the beach and await the fall of night: "Does the sun die too when it goes over the horizon?"

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