A match, interrupted

  The terrible crash of that one single plane within the high mountains was, by itself, not so spectacular.  A plane wreck with almost no survivors is unquestioningly horrific, and yet is an idea we're all familiar with.  The wreck was not the first accident of that nature, nor would it be the last.

  That wreck, however, would be set aside in history, dog-eared in the textbooks of generations to come, not because of the two hundred ninety-nine that died, as much as each of those souls may deserve their own story.  No, the spotlight was stolen away: by the one who was supposed to die, but didn't.

  This created a particularly vexing problem for Samuel, the one fortunate unfortunate who had accidently lived.  His days as an average died in that plane with the other passengers.  Newly armed with the freshly developing image of immortality, Samuel's recent changes were only fueled by the impending media frenzy.

  Claiming to the world the tale of his immortality, Samuel quickly became known by all.  His name was a common household name, spoken throughout the nations.  Many feared him.  Many hated him.  Many worshipped him.  All tried to disbelieve him, but it took the futile attempts of a hundred different assassins, snipers, and suicide bombers to finally drive home the point: Samuel, through whatever powers that be, was here to stay.

  And in a place that is far up above, beyond the heavens so high, and yet below, and all around: a place where Life and Death, Black and White, struggle endlessly and tirelessly throughout time and ages... in this place, something equally as unprecedented happened.  Life and Death stopped their eternal game.

  Death's cold, skeletal-like hand halted in mid-play, fingertips still clutched on a frozen-cold black knight.  He, and Life with him, froze where they were, immobile, as if time had actually stopped for them, for once.

  Then, a long moment later, Death looked up.

  And Life looked up.

  The two opposites considered each other anew: Death's icey, featureless mask staring with black eyes across the board to Life, radiant, youthful, and beautiful.  And the same thought ran through the minds of both.

  Slowly, ever so painfully slowly, the two looked away from the board, the game forgotten from their minds for the first time in eternity.  They cast their gaze to the side, looking downward at a life unfolding that was not meant to occur.

  Below, far below, and yet standing as clear as daylight next to them, was a man: radiant, youthful, and beautiful.  He stood atop a great mountain, his voice booming loudly across all the world as he proclaimed: "I am Samuel, the Immortal!  Look up upon me and tremble, as I am now your god!"

  And as he spoke, behold, the very sun, moon, and Earth itself did line up in order, as if heeding his call, and it was understood that this was an eclipse.  And the mortals of the Earth did tremble, fearing it to be the work of their newest god.

  Death, with a quick shake of his head, looked longways over at his opponent, and with a snide grin and sarcastic tone said: "See what happens when you actually win?  Bastard."

  Life frowned deeply, but said nothing.



  Thus, before things could go any more awry, both Death and Life left the chess board in unison, stepping from their stage of eternity onto the world of men, appearing on either side of Samuel as physical incarnations.

  Samuel, surprised, looked into the radiant, youthful, beautiful face of Life, then turned to see the icy, lifeless and featureless stare of Death.  But he was not afraid.  He was Samual the Immortal.  Not even Death could take him.

  "I have survived through a horrific plane crash," explained Samuel to the two celestral visitors.  "I have survived through countless assassinations, gunshots and explosions.  None are able to even scratch me.  I am beyond your power, Death.  I can not be stopped."

  "You can not be stopped," Death agreed, his voice frigid as the cold mountain air.  "And you are beyond my power to take you to your long-overdue Judgement.  You are a product of Life itself, and thus are beyond my power.

  "You are not, however, beyond my power to take you from this world."

  "To go where, Death?" Samuel demanded, haughtily.  He stepped nearer Death and laughed in his face-without-a-face.  "If I can not die, where is there to go besides to remain here?  What could you possibly do to me?"

  And beneath Death's featureless mask, he smiled a cold smile indeed.



  In the years since that day, Samuel passed from the memories of men; the significance of his achievements erased from their minds.  He was remembered as a remarkable survivor and a good man, but as nothing else.

  Life and Death, meanwhile, resumed their eternity of chess-playing, the board cleared and the pieces beginning their dance anew.  Just as if they had never stopped.  Just as it should always be.

  Black pawn forward.  White pawn to counter.  Black castle forward.  White knight counter.

  White pawn defeated by Black castle.

  The small, pale pawn lying sideways and useless upon the board, the two chess players looked up at their newest arrival expectantly.

  Samuel was sitting on the sidelines, lazily taking in the game before him, but mostly contemplating on the things that had happened on Earth, and all the things that had not.

  "Samuel," Death barked his orders abruptly, rousing Samuel from his daydreams.  His mind was so prone to wander.

  "Er..  Right.  Sorry."  Samuel apologized, flustered.  Reaching forward, he retrieved the conquered pawn and set it aside.  It was his calling in life now.

  Truly, it had been his only real calling, all throughout life.

The End

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