I looked up at my office building with great satisfaction. My office sat on thirty first floor of the fifty storey building. My desk overlooked the river and I passed the time by watching the barges gently float by. I was blessed to live my life. I was the CEO of a scientific research facility located in Camden. There was a large breakthrough for Forever Solutions in cancer treatments three years ago but much to my dismay, we have not reached a breakthrough since. Luckily, the funding we have received since then has carried us forward. My days are unfortunately spent looking down at the river below. We were close to something huge; I could feel it.
After another day of sat by the phone, begging for our funding not to be cut, I headed home. I was on the way to my car when my phone began to ring. I answered to hear my mother crying down the other end of the line. I could hear her hands shaking as she clasped the landline. I had always been extremely close to my parents. I could not imagine my life without them. They were the two most supportive people I had ever met. I would not be the person I was without their loving guidance.
‘I went to the doctor today,’ she sobbed wearily. ‘I do not have long left. There is unfortunately nothing more they can do to help me. They said I would have six months at the most’.
I let the phone slip from my hands onto the bed. I could not bare to be without my mother. I visited her immediately. I watched her cry. The tears of a beautiful woman were always uncomfortable to bare. She was always so strong, but as she huddled over the kitchen table, she looked so small. That is when I realised, I was not strong enough to lose my parents. I needed them by my side. I had nobody else in my life who could lift me up and put all my broken pieces back together. I knew I must save her somehow.
I spent the next three months with my eyes glued to a microscope. All our resources were diverted on bringing about a cure for my mother. I knew that I would not be able to handle the loss of either of my parents. As I contemplated my options, that was when it hit me. The ideal solution. A forever drug. Something that could indefinitely delay the decomposition of our fragile bodies. I had recently researched an experimental drug from the Mayo Clinic in America. The drug attacked ‘zombie’ cells in the body, these are the cells that have been damaged with age and disease. It then replaces the zombie cells with fresh, healthy cells, allowing the health of the body to be sustained. I must find a way to escalate the effects of this drug and prolong life indefinitely.
The hours passed painstakingly. My staff and I rarely left the office. We stayed awake through all hours of the day until we finally reached a breakthrough. We tested the new drug on a rat. Not long after the rat had been fed the serum, all the decayed cells in its body had fully regenerated.
I received the fateful news the next day. My mother had been taken into hospital and placed on life support. She had been given merely hours left to live. I knew that I could not fully conduct the full experiments needed for the serum, I did not have the time. I arrived at the hospital with a small vial of the forever drug and instructed my mother to drink it immediately. The side effects of the serum had not yet been researched, but I knew this was my last chance to save her and would do anything to make it so that I would not have to experience a world without her.
I sat and waited at her bedside as she moaned and cried in pain. Had my serum worked? There was no way to tell now. She struggled to breathe and cried soft tears. Nothing had changed. She was still as sick as she was moments ago. I had failed. I cried at the thought of losing her. My heart shattered like glass and scattered itself into the wind as I came to the realisation that it was over.
Somehow, I fell asleep during the night as I sat by my mother’s side. The winter sunlight broke through the hospital curtains and gently woke me from my night of sleep. I looked up to find my mother was nowhere to be found. The bed was empty. In a state of utter panic, I jumped from the chair and began searching the corridors for her. She had completely disappeared. I slumped down to the floor beside the bed and wept, fearing the worst.
‘Why are you crying son,’ a faint whisper came from behind me. I turned to see my mother standing there, with a distinct glow in her eyes and a flush in her cheeks. She looked healthier than I had ever seen her. My serum had worked. I leapt to my feet and wrapped my arms around her. The warmth of her love surrounded me. I was happier than I had ever been.
Four years passed us by quickly. My mother had not aged since she had been taking the serum. My father had been reluctant to try the serum at first, but soon he found himself reaping the benefits of eternal health and life. We were happier than ever. The breakthrough in the serum had provided my company with infinite funding and prosperity. The world had been changed for the better.
Unfortunately, nothing perfect lasts forever. Perfection is fleeting, much like happiness. Problems began to arise with overpopulation across the world. With record low deaths and ever increasing birth rates, Earth had now become vastly crowded. Fossil fuels and sustainable energy sources found that they could not provide for the waves of people living on the planet. The dwindling resources had plunged the world into dark times. Governments who harvested the resources had become stricter with their distribution, sparing them for only those who could afford them, which became a tight circle that dwindled with every day that passed. The use of the Forever Drug had been stripped from the lower classes and reserved as a luxury for society’s most elite. Due to the longevity of the serum, withdrawal had not yet taken effect.
The worst news was yet to come. Upon returning from a Business summit in Tokyo, I received a phone call that would change my life. My father had passed of a heart attack. The serum had not been fully effective in preventing the attack. I returned to my office and trashed everything on my desk. I was so angry that my serum had failed on one of the people it counted on most.
A further sixteen years passed us by. I grew slowly more detached from the world. My mother had not been the same since my father had passed. She was now aged 106 but had not still aged a day in twenty years. She had called me to visit her. I could tell that something was not right. The once cheerful and adoring woman had grown distant and secluded in the last fourteen years.
‘I do not want to do this any more,’ she sobbed as she sat me down in the living room. ‘At first, I was elated to feel young again. To have all of my aches and pains removed was a joyous occasion. I felt so free. I took on the world at the age of eighty six. However, every day has grown harder. Ever since your father passed I have grown to resent this serum. I have grown to resent my own child for blessing me with this gift. Every day I wake up is another chore. Your father was the reason I woke up in the morning. He allowed me to live carefree and youthful again. Every day without him just grows more unbearable. What is the joy of eternal life if there is nobody by your side to share it with? I am ready now my child. I have lived these years to the fullest, but I cannot for any longer. There is nothing left in this world for me. I have stopped taking your serum. The effects should have fully worn off any day now. I will soon finally be able to be at peace and be with your father once again’.
A mix of emotions swept over me. First anger at the fact that I would soon be without my mother. Then sadness. An inescapable sadness that rested heavy on my shoulders and slowly began swallowing me whole. I did not know how to live without them, and I was too scared to try.
The next few days were the worst of my life. I remained by my mother’s side as the serum wore off and she slowly aged in front of my eyes. Her bones creaked and ached once more. I stayed with her as she slowly deteriorated. Soon, she could no longer rise from her bed.
The fateful day came after two weeks of preparation. Even though I had been preparing for it, the heartbreak that came afterwards was unbearable. She lay by my side and slowly drifted away into an unbreakable slumber. The light faded from her eyes and the colour vanished from her skin. There was a distinct moment that I knew my mother was no longer there. Almost as if I could visibly see her soul leave her body. I cradled her in my arms one last time.
Living with what I had done to the world was not easy. Economies crumbled before me. The world was in uproar. The people rose against the corrupt governments and toppled them to the ground. The rich retreated to their sanctuaries as the people rose against them. After all, they had nothing left to lose. They burned my factories to rid the world of the serum forever. I joined the revolution in an attempt to fix my sins against humanity. The revolters did not accept me as one of them. They saw me as the catalyst that destroyed the world. They were not wrong in their judgements. The weight of the destruction of the planet was solely on my back. Crushing me until one day I could not take it any longer. My serum had destroyed the world entirely and I had failed in my one mission to protect those closest to me. This was not the world I had envisioned. It was a world I could no longer be a part of. Some say it was cowardly for me to take my own life rather than facing my problem and trying to resolve it, but I did not see another option. When messing with life and death, there is only one winner.