Mog was angry. Who did Isis think she was, some global problem-solver? He opened his envelope, barely took notice of the cold silver disc hanging from the key chain and wandered around, feeling absolutely stupid for ‘letting his heart lead him to his house’. He wasn’t even sure if he wanted to stay here. To his frustration, his house was next door to Russell’s.
‘I thought I was meant to find peace here,’ he muttered to himself as he saw Russell testing out the key in his front door and smiling at the fact it was the right one. He then had the nerve to ring Mog’s doorbell, supposedly wanting to hang out. Mog ignored it but then heard the lock unclick. Great! Russell’s key opened his house too. Russell followed Mog into the kitchen.
“Shall I make us drinks?” he asked.
“I don’t even want you here,” Mog told him tersely.
“You like coffee, don’t you?”
Mog didn’t respond. He went to wait in the living room, knowing that nothing he said would make Russell leave.
“How long are you going to stay in my house?” Mog asked as Russell returned.
“Just until we’ve had a drink,” Russell said. “It’s not nice to feel alone on the first day, is it?”
“I can’t say I agree,” Mog replied coolly.
“Isis mentioned that we’ll find our inner peace here. Do you think you’d like to die now?”
Mog gazed at Russell confused.
“What are you saying?”
Russell swallowed hard.
“I think you know exactly what I’m saying.” He finished his drink and took it out to the kitchen. He came back, looking pale and uncomfortable. “I’ll be next door if you need me, Mog.”
With that, he left.
Well. Mog hadn’t expected that at all. Russell loved him, didn’t he? And he had let him be immortal for this long. Mog considered approaching him to ask him to undo the spell. He couldn’t imagine Russell actually being able to, but ... say he could. Was that something Mog wanted? After a long life of coldness and tedium, could he really face death?
He didn’t know. He buried his face in his hands, his fingers raking through his hair. What a thing to consider.
Mog had spent all of his time housebound, finding fresh and edible food in the fridge in his kitchen and diversion in crossword puzzles, Scrabble games against himself and looking at the paintings around the house. He felt like an old man ready to die. But was he? On the second day, there was a knock on the door and he answered it to find that lycanthrope, Lazarus, standing outside.
“Hi,” he said, not knowing what other response would be appropriate for this surprise encounter.
"Hey," the lycanthrope replied.
"Are you ... okay?" Mog asked awkwardly.
"Been better. You?"
Mog shrugged. "Okay. Russell offered to end my immortality." He felt his brow furrow and heard himself say "I don't know what to do."
"I wish someone would end mine,” Lazarus said, giving a wry smile.
“Really?" Mog pressed, interested to hear his answer.
"Wanna go for a drink?"
Mog shook his head. "No."
Lazarus nodded. "Well what happened between you and Russell?"
"Nothing. He came over on the first day and made me a drink. Then he talked about finding inner peace and asked me if I wanted to die."
"And I don't know. I don't know if I want this to end or if I'm afraid."
"Depends how long you've been hanging around for I guess."
"More than a century and a half."
"Try three." Lazarus laughed humourlessly before asking, "Can I come in?"
"Sure, why not?" Mog stepped aside and closed the door behind him as he walked inside. "Can I get you a drink?"
Lazarus hesitated. "Just coffee, thanks."
Mog made them both a cup of coffee and brought them through to place on the coffee table. He gestured for Lazarus to sit on the sofa nearest the table and pulled up one of the two armchairs, sitting opposite him.
Lazarus took his seat and looked around.
"Is there anything to live for?" Mog found himself asking suddenly.
"Sometimes," Lazarus answered thoughtfully.
Mog nodded slowly. "I can't say I've met a lot of people worth living for. I recognise that there are heroes on this planet but none has ever touched my life."
"It comes round and bites you in the ass usually."
Mog laughed. "You're not giving me much reason to decline Russell's offer here."
Lazarus chuckled. "Sorry. I'm probably not the right immortal to ask about this kind of stuff. I'm far too jaded."
Mog sighed. "What a world this is. I hope the next one's better."
"Are you religious?"
"I was brought up a Christian," Mog said, dodging the question.
"So d'you believe in an afterlife?" Lazarus asked.
Mog frowned for a minute and then nodded.
"There can't just be nothing."
Lazarus looked thoughtful.
"I s'pose." He sipped at his coffee.
"I don't believe Russell should be damned, though."
"As long as he repents for what he's done." Lazarus shrugged.
"No, no, I mean about him loving me."
"Why would he be damned for that?" Lazarus asked, giving a short laugh.
"Well, you know what they think about men loving men," said Mog awkwardly.
"Of course, I'm Catholic." Lazarus laughed. Mog was stunned. "I don't think God really cares. As long as we have love, I think He's okay with it."
Mog nodded. "Well, it's been really interesting talking to you, Lazarus. Have you dropped by Russell's place?"
Lazarus shook his head.
"Are you going to?"
"Do you want me to?"
"I don't mind. I don't think I can do anything more for you."
Lazarus shrugged. "I just wanted someone to talk to.”
"Yeah, I'm not good at talking for hours on end. Russell is."
"Well, thanks for the coffee."
"You're welcome." Mog rose to his feet and showed the lycanthrope out.
Settling back in the armchair and finishing his coffee, Mog contemplated. So there wouldn't be any exciting turning point over the next years? He felt vaguely disappointed as though he had been expecting something like that. But if there was none, ... well, he should get over to Russell's now.
But something stopped him from moving. Anxiety. Doubt. Truth be told, Mog wasn't ready. So he stayed put. He wondered what the other ways of finding inner peace were.