|Warrior of the Ages by S. R. Karfelt
Scenes from an immortal life.
Kahtar barely fit inside the booth at Cliff’s diner. Barefoot he stood 6' 10 ½ inches tall. All his police uniforms had to be custom made, and a shoemaker from his world sneaked and made his shoes for this one, including a pair of khaki colored sneakers that he’d never actually worn. He shifted, trying to turn towards the waitress, but wedged against the laminate tabletop made that impossible. “No menu,” he said without meeting her eyes, a kindness he gave most inhabitants of her world. “A slice of strawberry pie, no whipped cream, and a cup of coffee.” The waitress smiled, but busied herself writing it down. “Glass of water?” “Please,” at least he could drink that. He could manage to choke down a slice of the pie every week. It seemed something a normal cop might do, but coffee he just couldn’t manage much of.
The waitress hurried behind the counter, and Kahtar’s mouth automatically slid into the almost smile he’d spent millennia perfecting. An elderly couple rose from the booth in front of his, and shuffled towards the door, buttoning coats and wrapping scarves. The man paused by his table. “Plow keeps blocking my drive! Right after I shovel, they just shove a foot of snow across the whole dang thing. I called the station, but nobody even came out to check.” Kahtar focused his eyes on the spot between the man’s grey brows, but before he could comment, the man’s wife poked him. “What’s he gonna do, Howard? Shoot the snowplow?” Grumbling, the man moved away and the smile that briefly lit Kahtar’s face was genuine. Bad timing, the waitress returned with his order. A huge scoop of ice cream sat on the side, melting into his pie. From his peripheral vision he saw a huge smile light her face in return for his.
“My treat for the ice-cream, Chief. I’m Brenda, I just moved to Willowyth.” Kahtar nodded at her and dropped his gaze to glare at the offending ice-cream. He detested processed food. A pile of slop off the snowplow’s tires would be more palatable. “Um, enjoy,” she managed and scurried away. He realized a beat too late that he’d been rude. With his fork he picked up the entire clump of the treat and shoved it into his mouth. He’d leave a big tip, money made up for a multitude of sins in this world. Of course the poor thing needed it too.
Kahtar knew the woman’s name was Brenda Blake. He knew everything that went on in this town. She had two daughters, and she’d taken a place over on Second Street. She cleaned houses on the side, worked at the diner forty hours a week, and sold some kind of make-up that she wore entirely too much of. Without looking at her, he scanned her as she poured coffee into the cups of construction workers lining the counter. Five feet eight inches, one hundred-seven pounds, the evidence of a heavy smoker invaded every cell of her body. The poor thing would not live to be an old woman. He forced a gulp of coffee, fighting a grimace.
Static from a speaker overhead caught his attention, “Who wants to live forever?” the singer intoned, the high notes producing even more static. The irony wasn’t lost on him. The young woman behind the counter probably wanted to live forever, and she likely wouldn’t have another decade. He on the other hand, had forever. Technically anyway. The singer was right, who did want to live forever? Only those who had absolutely no clue what a curse it was.
Kahtar shoveled the pie into his mouth in three bites, leaving the crust behind. People did that, even in his world. He fished for his wallet in the confined space, trying to ignore the lyrics that were – of course – a love song. He didn’t like music, not of this world and not of his. The last thing an immortal needed was another song to take root in his subconscious. Whatever part of his mind stored music had filled up ages ago, and he had no room left for more of it. As a matter of fact he wished he could have the bulk of it removed.
Back in WWI he’d consumed a hefty dose of mustard gas to the tune of Nora Baye’s Over There, making it the first time in his existence he’d been tortured to music. Literally anyway. Kahtar pulled out fifteen dollars and dropped it on the table. He squeezed out of the booth but the singer’s high notes followed him. He could tell that singer who waited forever. He did. And it sure wasn’t love he waited for, not that he’d mind it. He glanced back at the people in the diner, not a single one looked in his direction. When he looked at people, they looked anywhere but back at him. He was one scary being. That truth followed him in both worlds. Immortality was apparently a trait endured alone.
|S. R. Karfelt
Nicole Mason Photography
If you enjoyed this scene, check out my book about Kahtar. Chronologically this scene takes place the winter before Warrior of the Ages begins. I enjoy spending time inside Kahtar’s world and mind. Let me know if you do too, and I’ll share more.
My name is S. R. Karfelt, and Warrior of the Ages is my first baby to make it into print. It’s available at Amazon and wherever finebooks are sold. If you have any questions about this scene, or questions about Kahtar or the book series, this is a place to ask me! I’ll try to keep CAPTCHA off the blog as long as I can bear the spam. I hate CAPTCHA too, I always flunk. It makes me question my own humanity, if I can’t prove I’m not a computer, what does that make me?